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, Exiibria 









Third Edition. Map. 2 Vols. Post 8vo. 30s. 




These pages, which she has been so good as to peruse and approve of, 

are dedicated, in the hopes that other fair readers may follow 

her example, 

By her very affectionate 

Husband and Servant, 

Richard Fokd. 

P E E F A C E. 

Many ladies, some of whom even contemplate a visit to 
Spain, having condescended to signify to the publisher their 
regrets, that the Handbook was printed in a form, which ren- 
dered its perusal irksome, and also to express a wish that 
the type had been larger, the Author, to whom this distin- 
guished compliment was communicated, has hastened to 
submit to their indulgence a few extracts and selections, 
which may throw some light on the character of a country 
and people, always of the highest interest, and particularly 
so at this moment, when their independence is once more 
threatened by a crafty and aggressive neighbour. 

In preparing these compilations for the press much new 
matter has been added, to supply the place of portions 
omitted ; for, in order to lighten the narrative, the Author 
has removed much lumber of learning, and has not scrupled 
occasionally to throw Strabo, and even Saint Isidore himself, 
overboard. Progress is the order of the day in Spain, and 
its advance is the more rapid, as she was so much in arrear 
of other nations. Transition is the present condition of the 
country, where yesterday is effaced by to-morrow. There 
the relentless march of European intellect is crushing many 
a native wild flower, which, having no value save colour and 
sweetness, must be rooted up before cotton-mills are con- 


structed and bread stuffs substituted ; many a trait of na- 
tionalit} .n manners and costume is already effaced ; monks 
are gone, and mantillas are going, alas ! going. 

In the changes that have recently taken place, many 
descriptions of ways and things now presented to the public 
will soon become almost matters of history and antiquarian 
mterest. The passages here reprinted will be omitted in 
the forthcoming new edition of the Handbook, to which 
these pages may form a companion ; but their chief object 
has been to offer a few hours' amusement, and may be of 
instruction, to those who remain at home ; and should the 
humble attempt meet with the approbation of fair readers, 
the author will bear, with more than Spanish resignation, 
whatever animadversions bearded critics may be pleased to 
inflict on this or on the other side of the water. 

( ^i ) 




A General View of Spain — Isolation — King of the Spains — Castilian 
Precedence — Localism — Want of Union — Admiration of Spain — 
M. Thiers in Spain 1 


The Geography of Spain — Zones — Mountains — The Pyrenees — The 
Gabacho, and French Politics ....... 7 

The Rivers of Spain— Bridges— Navigation— The Ebro and Tagus . 23 


Divisions into Provinces — Ancient Demarcations — Modem Departments 
— Population — Revenue — Spanish Stocks ..... 30 


Travelling in Spain — Steamers — Roads, Roman, Monastic, and Royal — 
Modern Railways — English Speculations . . , . .40 


Post Office in Spain — Travelling with Post Horses —Riding post — Mails 
and Diligences, Galeras, Coches de Colleras, Drivers and Manner of 
Driving, and Oaths ......... 58 

Spanish Horses — Mules— Asses— Muleteers— Maragatos . . .69 




Riding Tour in Spain — Pleasures of it— Pedestrian Tour — Choice of 
Companions — Rules for a Riding Tour — Season of Year — Day's 
Journey — Management of Horse ; his Feet ; Shoes ; General Hints . 80 


The Rider's Costume — Alforjas : Their contents — The Bota, and How 
to use it — Pig Skins and Borracha — Spanish Money — Onzas and 
smaller Coins .......... 94 


Spanish Servants : their Character — Travelling Groom, Cook, and 
Valet ... ....... 105 


A Spanish Cook — Philosophy of Spanish Cuisine — Sauce — Difficulty of 
Commissariat — The Provend — Spanish Hares and Rabbits — The 011a 
— Garbauzos — Spanish Pigs — Bacon and Hams — Omelette— Salad and 
Gazpacho . . . . . , . . . .119 


Drinks of Spain — Water — Irrigation — Fountains — Spanish Thirstiness 
— The Alcarraza — Water Carriers — Ablutions— Spanish Chocolate 
— Agraz — Beer Lemonade . . . . . . . 1 36 


Spanish Wines — Spanish Indifference — Wine-making — Vins du Pays — 
Local Wines — Benicarld — Valdepenas . . . . .145 


Sherry Wines — The Sherry District — Origin of the Name — Varieties 
of Soil — Of Grapes — Pajarete — Rojas Clemente — Cultivation of 
Vines — Best Vineyards — The Vintage — Amontillado — The Capataz 
— The Bodega — Sherry Wine — Arrope and Madre Vino— A Lecture 
ou Sherry in the Cellar— at the Table— Price of Fine Sherry — Falsi- 
fication of Sherry — Manzanilla — The Alpistera . . . . 1 50 




Spanish Inns: Why so lodifFerent— The Fonda — Modern Improve- 
ments — The Posada— Spanish Innkeepers — The Venta: Arrival in it 
— Arrangement — Garlic — Dinner — Evening — Night — Bill — Identity 
with the Inns of the Ancients ....... 165 


Spanish Robbers — A Robber Adventure — Guardias Civiles — Exag- 
gerated Accounts — Cross of the Murdered — Idle Robber Tales — 
French Bandittiphobia — Robber History — Guerrilleros — Smugglers — 
Jose Maria — Robbers of the First Class — The Ratero — Miguelites — 
Escorts and Escopeteros — Passes, Protections, and Talismans — 
Execution of a Robber . . . ... . . .186 


The Spanish Doctor ; His Social Position — Medical Abuses — Hospitals 
— Medical Education — Lunatic Asylums — Foundling Hospital of 
Seville — Medical Pretensions — Dissection — Family Physician — 
Consultations — Medical Costume — Prescriptions — Druggists — Snake 
Broth — Salve for Knife-cuts . . . . . . .213 


Spanish Spiritual Remedies for the Body — Miraculous Relics — Sanative 
Oils — Philosophy of Relic Remedies — Midwifery and the Cinta of 
Tortosa — Bull of Crusade . . . . . . . . 23G 


The Spanish Figaro — Mustachios — Whiskers — Beards — Bleeding — 
Heraldic Blood— Blue, Red, and Black Blood — Figaro's Shop— The 
Baratero — Shaving and Toothdrawing ..... 255 


What to observe in Spain — How to observe — Spanish Incuriousness and 
Suspicions — French Spies and Plunderers — Sketching in Spain — 
Difficulties; How Surmounted — Efficacy of Passports and Bribes — 
Uncertainty and Want of Information in the Natives . . . 265 




Origin of Bull-fight or Festival, and its Religious Character — 
Fiestas Reales — Royal Feasts — Charles I. at one — Discontinuance of 
the Old System — Sham Bull-fights — Plaza de Toros — Slang Lan- 
guage—Spanish Bulls— Breeds— The Going to a Bull-fight . . 286 


The Bull-fight — Opening of Spectacle — First Act, and Appearance 
of the Bull — The Picador— Bull Bastinado — The Horses, and their 
Cruel Treatment— Fire and Dogs — The Second Act — The Chulos 
and their Darts— The Third Act— The Matador— Death of the Bull 
— The Conclusion, and Philosophy of the Amusement — Its Effect on 
Ladies 300 


Spanish Theatre; Old and Modern Drama; Arrangement of Play- 
houses — The Henroost — The Fandango ; National Dances — A Gipsy 
Ball — Italian Opera — National Songs and Guitars . . .318 


Manufacture of Cigars — Tobacco — Smuggling via Gibraltar — Cigars of 
Ferdinand VII. — Making a Cigarrito — Zumalacarreguy and the 
Schoolmaster — Time and Money wasted in Smoking — Postscript on 
Spanish Stock . . • . • c  . • 4 335 



A gen^iral view of Spain — Isolation — King of the Spains — Castilian pre- 
cedence — Localism — Want of Union — Admiration of Spain — M. Thiers 
in Spain. 

The kingdom of Spain, which looks so compact on the map, is 
composed of many distinct provinces, each of which in earlier 
times formed a separate and independent kingdom ; and although 
all are now united under one crown by marriage, inheritance, 
conquest, and otlier circumstances, the original distinctions, 
geographical as well as social, remain almost unaltered. The 
language, costume, habits, and local character of the natives, 
vary no less than the climate and productions of the soil. The 
chains of mountains which intersect the whole peninsula, and the 
deep rivers which separate portions of it, have, for many years, 
operated as so many walls and moats, by cutting oft' intercommu- 
nication, and by fostering tliat tendency to isolation which must 
exist in all liilly countries, wiiere good roads and bridges do not 
abound. As similar circumstances led the people of ancient Greece 
to split into small principalities, tribes and clans, so in Spain, 
man, following the example of the nature by which he is sur- 
rounded, has little in common with the inhabitant of the adjoin- 
ing district ; and these diffierences are increased and perpetuated 
by the ancient jealousies and inveterate disliices, which petty and 
contiguous states keep up with sucli tenacious memory. The 
general comprehensive term " Spain," wliich is convenient for 
geographers and politicians, is calculated to mislead the traveller, 
for it would be far from easy to predicate any single tiling of 
Spain or Spaniards wliich will be equally applicable to all its 

KING OF THE SPAINS. [chap. i. 

heterogeneous component parts. Tlie north-western provinces 
are more rainy than Devonshire, while the centre plains are 
more calcined than those of the deserts of Arabia, and the 
littoral south or eastern coasts altogether Algerian. The rude 
agricultural Gallician, the industrious manufacturing artisan of 
Barcelona, the gay and voluptuous Andalucian, the sly vindictive 
Valencian, are as essentially different from each other as so many 
distinct characters at the same masquerade. It will therefore 
be more convenient to the traveller to take each province by 
itself and treat it in detail, keeping on the look-out for those 
peculiarities, those social and natural characteristics or idiosyn- 
cracies which particularly belong to each division, and distinguish 
it from its neighbours. The Spaniards who have written on 
their own geography and statistics, and who ought to be sup- 
posed to understand their own country and institutions the best, 
have found it advisable to adopt this arrangement from feeling the 
utter impossibility of treating Spain (where union is not unity) as 
a whole. There is no king of Spam : among the infinity of king- 
doms, the list of which swells out the royal style, that of" Spain" 
is not found ; he is King of the Spains, Rex Hispaniarum, Rey 
de las Espa'/ias, not " Rey de Espana.'"' Philip II., called by his 
countrymen el jmidente, the prudent, wishing to fuse down his 
heterogeneous subjects, was desirous after his conquest of Por- 
tugal, which consolidated his dominion, to call himself King of 
Spain, which he then really was; but this alteration of title was 
beyond the power of even his despotism ; such was the opposition 
of the kingdoms of Arragon and Navarre, which never gave up 
the hopes of shaking off the yoke of Castile, and recovering their 
former independence, while the empire provinces of New and 
Old Castile refused in anywise to compromise their claims of 
pre-eminence. They from early times, as now, took the lead in 
national nomenclature; hence '• CasteUano'' Castilian, is syno- 
nymous with Spaniard, and particularly with the proud genuine 
older stock. " Castellano a las derechas," means a Spaniard to 
the backbone ; " Hahlar Castellano," to speak Castilian, is the 
correct expression for speaking the Spanish language. Spain 
again was long without the advantage of a fixed metropolis, like 
Rome, Paris, or London, which have been capitals from their 
foundation, and recognized and submitted to as such ; here, the 


cities of Leon, Burgos, Toledo, Seville, Valladolid, and others, 
have each in their turns been the capitals of the kingdom. This 
constant change and short-lived pre- eminence has weakened any- 
prescriptive superiority of one city over another, and has been a 
cause of national weakness by raising up rivalries and disputes 
about precedence, which is one of the most fertile sources of 
dissension among a punctilious people. In fact the king was 
the state, and wherever he fixed his head-quarters was the court, 
La Corte, a word still synonymous with Madrid, which now 
claims to be the only residence of the Sovereign — the residenz, 
as Germans would say ; otherwise, when compared with the 
cities above mentioned, it is a modern place ; from not having 
a bishop or cathedral, of which latter some older cities possess 
two, it has not even the rank of a ciudad, or city, but is merely 
denominated villa^ or town. In moments of national danger it 
exercises little influence over the Peninsula : at the same time, 
from being the seat of the court and government, and therefore 
the centre of patronage and fashion, it attracts from all parts 
those who wish to make their fortune ; yet the capital has a 
hold on the ambition rather than on the affections of the nation 
at large. The inhabitants of the different provinces think, 
indeed, t!iat Madrid is the greatest and richest court in the 
world, but their hearts are in their native localities. " 3Ii 
paisano," my fellow-countryman, or rather my fellow-county- 
man, fellow-parishioner, does not mean Spaniard, but Anda- 
lucian, Catalonian, as the case may be. When a Spaniard is 
asked. Where do you come from ? tlie reply is, " Soy hijo de 
Miircia — hijo de Granada,'' " I am a son of Murcia — a son of 
Granada," &c. This is strictly analogous to the " Children of 
Israel," the " Beni " of the Spanish Moors, and to this day the 
Arabs of Cairo call themselves children of that town, ^'Ihn el 
Musr," &c. ; and just as the Milesian Irishman is "a boij from 
Tipperary," &c., and ready to fight with any one who is so also, 
against all wiio are not of that ilk ; similar too is the clansliip of 
the Higlilander; indeed, everywhere, not perhaps to the same ex- 
tent as in Spain, the being of the same province or town creates a 
powerful freemasonry ; the parties cling together like old school- 
fellows. It is a home and really binding feeling. To tlie spot 
of their birth all their recollections, comparisons, and eulogies 



are turned ; nothing to them comes up to their particular pro- 
vince, that is, their real country. " La Patria" meaning Spain 
at large, is a subject of declamation, fine words, pulabras^Tp^- 
laver, in which all, like Orientals, delight to indulge, and to 
which their grandiloquent idiom lends itself readily ; but their 
patriotism is parochial, and self is the centre of Spanish gravity. 
Like the German, they may sing and spout about Fatherland: 
in both cases the theory is splendid, but in practice each Spaniard 
thinks his own province or town the best in the Peninsula, and 
himself the finest fellow in it. From the earliest period down 
to the present all observers have been struck with this localism 
as a salient feature in the character of the Iberians, who never 
would amalgamate, never would, as Strabo said, put their shields 
together — never would sacrifice their own local private interest 
for the general good ; on tlie contrary, in the hour of n«^ed they 
had, as at present, a constant tendency to separate into distinct 
juntas, ^^ collective" assemblies, each of which only thought of 
its own views, utterly indifferent to the injury thereby occasioned 
to what ought to have been the common cause of all. Common 
danger and interest scarcely can keep them together, the ten- 
dency of each being rather to repel than to attract the other: 
the common enemy once removed, they instantly fall to logger- 
heads among each other, especially if there be any spoil to be 
divided : scarcely ever, as in the East, can the energy of one 
individual bind the loose staves by the iron power of a master 
mind; remove the baud, and the centrifugal members instanta- 
neously disunite. Thus the virility and vitality of tlie noble 
people have been neutralised : they have, indeed, strong limbs 
and honest hearts; but, as in the Oriental parable, "a head" is 
wanting to direct and govern : hence Spain is to-day, as it 
always has been, a bundle of small bodies tied together by a 
rope of sand, and, being witliout union, is also without strength, 
and has been beaten in detail. The much-used phrase Espano- 
lismo expresses rather a " dislike of foreign dictation," and the 
" self -estimation" of Spaniards, EspaTwles sohre todos, than any 
real patriotic love of country, however highly they rate its ex- 
cellences and suj)eriority to every other one under heaven : this 
opinion is condensed in one of those pithy proverbs which, no- 
where more than in Spain, are the exponents of popular senti- 


ment: it runs thus, — " Quien dice Espana, dice todo" which 
means, " Whoever says Spain, says everything." A foreigner 
may perhaps think this a trifle too comprehensive and exclusive ; 
but he will do well to express no doubts on the subject, since he 
will only be set down by every native as either jealous, envious, 
or ignorant, and probably all three. 

To boast of Spain's strength, said the Duke of Wellington, 
is the national weakness. Every infinitesimal particle which con- 
stitutes nosotfos, or ourselves, as Spaniards term themselves, will 
talk of his countiy as if the armies were still led to victory by 
the mighty Charles V., or the councils managed by Philip II. 
instead of Louis-Philippe. Fortunate, indeed, was it, according 
to a Castilian preacher, that the Pyrenees concealed Spain when 
the Wicked One tempted the Son of Man by an offer of all the 
kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. This, indeed, 
was predicated in the mediaeval or dark ages, but few peninsular 
congregations, even in tiiese enliglitened times, would dispute 
the inference. It was but the other day that a foreigner was 
relating in a tertulia, or conversazione of Madrid, the well- 
known anecdote of Adam's revisit to the earth. The narrator 
explained how our first father on lighting in Italy was perplexed 
and taken aback ; how, on crossing the Alps into Germany, he 
found nothing that he could understand — how matters got darker 
and stranger at Paris, until on his reaching England lie was 
altogether lost, confounded, and abroad, being unable to make 
out any thing. Spain was his next point, where, to his infinite 
satisfaction, he found himself quite at home, so little had things 
changed since his absence, or indeed since the sun at its creation 
first shone over Toledo. The story concluded, a distinguished 
Spaniard, who was present, hurt perhaps at the somewhat pro- 
testant-dissenting tone of the speaker, gravely remarked, the 
rest of the party coinciding, — *S7, Senor, y tenia razon ; la Es- 
pana es Paradiso — " Adam, Sir, was right, for Spain is para- 
dise ;" and in many respects this worthy, zealous gentleman was 
not wrong, although it is affirmed by some of his countrymen 
that some portions of it are inhabited by persons not totally 
exempt from original sin ; thus the Valencians will say of their 
ravishing huerta., or garden, Es un paradiso hahitado por de^ 
monios, — •" It is an Eden peopled by subjects of his Satanic Ma- 

6 M. THIERS IN SPAIN. [chap. i. 

jesty." Again, according to the natives, Murcia, a land over- 
flowing witli milk and honey, where Flora and Pomona dispute 
the prize with Ceres and Bacchus, possesses a cieJo y suelo hueno, 
el entresiielo malo, has " a sky and soil that are good, while all 
between is indifferent ;" which the entresol occupant must settle 
to his liking. 

Another little anecdote, like a straw thrown up in the air, will 
point out the direction in which the wind blows. Monsieur Thiers, 
the great historical romance writer, in his recent hand- gallop 
tour through the Peninsula, passed a few days only at Madrid ; 
his mind being, as logicians would say, of a subjective rather than 
an objective turn, that is, disposed rather to the consideration of 
the ego, and to things relating to self, than to those that do not, 
he scarcely looked more at any thing there, than he did during 
his similar run through London : " Behold," said the Spaniards, 
" that little gabacho ; he dares not remain, nor raise his eyes 
from the ground in this land, whose vast superiority wounds his 
personal and national vanity." There is nothing new in this. 
The old Castilian has an older saying: — Si Dios no fuese Dios, 
seria rey de las Espanas, y el de Francia su cocinero — " If God 
were not God, he would make himself king of the Spains, with 
him of France for his cook." Lope de Vega, without de- 
rogating one jot from these paradisiacal pretensions, used him of 
England better. His sonnet on the romantic trip to Madrid 
ran thus : — 

" Carlos Stuardo soy, 

Que sieiido amor mi guia, 
Al cielo de Espana voy, 
Por ver mi estrella Maria." 

" I am Charles Stuart, who, with love for my guide, hasten to 
the heaven Spain to see my star Mary." The Virgin, it must be 
remembered, after whom this infanta was named, is held by every 
Spaniard to be the brightest luminary, and the sole empress of 



The Geography of Spain— Zones— Mountains — The Pyrenees — The Gabacho, 

and French Politics. 

From Spain being the most southern country in Europe, it is 
very natural that tliose who have never been there, and who in 
England criticise those who have, should imagine the climate to 
be even more delicious than that of Italy or Greece. This is far 
from being the fact ; some, indeed, of the sea coasts and sheltered 
plains in the S. and E. provinces are warm in winter, and ex- 
posed to an almost African sun in summer, but the N. and W. 
districts are damp and rainy for the greater part of tlie year, 
while the interior is eitlier cold and cheerless, or sunburnt and 
wind-blown : winters have occurred at Madrid of such severity 
that sentinels have been frozen to death ; and frequently all com- 
munication is suspended by the depth of the snow in the elevated 
roads over the mountain passes of the Castiles. All, therefore, 
who are about to travel through the Peninsula, are particularly 
cautioned to consider well their line of route beforehand, and to 
select certain portions to be visited at certain seasons, and thus 
avoid every local disadvantage. 

One glance at a map of Europe will convey a clearer notion 
of the relative position of Spain in regard to other countries than 
pages of letter-press : this is an advantage which every school- 
boy possesses over the Plinys and Strabos of antiquity ; the an- 
cients were content to compare the shape of the Peninsula to that 
of a bull's hide, nor was the comparison ill chosen in some 
respects. We will not weary readers with details of latitude and 
longitude, but just mention that the whole superficies of the Pe- 
ninsula, including Portugal, contains upwards of 19,000 square 
leagues, of which somewhat more than 15,500 l>elong to Spain ; 
it is thus almost twice as large as the British Islands, and only 
one-tenth smaller than France; the circumference or coast-Hne 


is estimated at 750 leagues. This compact and isolated territory, 
inhabited by a fine, hardy, warlike population, ought, therefore, 
to have rivalled France in military power, while its position be- 
tween those two great seas which command the commerce of" the 
old and new world, its indented line of coast, abounding in bays 
and harbours, offered every advantage of vying with England in 
maritime enterprise. 

Nature has provided commensurate outlets for the infinite pro- 
ductions of a country which is rich alike in everything that is to 
be found either on the face or in the bowels of the earth ; for the 
mines and quarries abound with precious metals and marbles, 
from gold to iron, from the agate to coal, while a fertile soil and 
every possible variety of climate admit of unlnuited cultivation 
of the natural productions of the temperate or tropical zones : 
thus in the province of Granada the sugar-cane and cotton-tree 
luxuriate at the base of ranges which are covered with eternal 
snow : a wide range is thus afforded to the botanist, who may 
ascend by zones, througli every variety of vegetable strata, from 
the hothouse plant growing wild, to the hardiest lichen. It has, 
indeed, required the utmost ingenuity and bad government of 
man to neutralise the prodigality of advantages which Pi-ovi- 
dence has lavished on this highly favoured land, and which, 
while under the dominion of the Romans and Moors, resembled 
an Eden, a garden of plenty and delight, when in the words of 
an old author, there was nothing idle, nothing barren in Spain — 
'' nihil otiosum, nihil sterile in Hispania." A sad change has 
come over this fair vision, and now the bulk of the Peninsula 
offers a picture of neglect and desolation, moral and pliysical, 
which it is painful to contemplate : the face of nature and the 
mind of man have too often been dwarfed and curtailed of their 
fair proportions ; they have eitlier been neglected and their in- 
herent fertility allowed to run into vice and luxuriant weeds, 
which it will show against any country in the world, or their 
energies have been misdirected, and a capability of all good con- 
verted into an element equally powerful for evil ; but pride and 
laziness ai-e here as everywhere the keys to poverty, altivez y 
pereza, Haves de pobreza. 

The geological construction of Spain is very peculiar, and 
unlike that of most other countries; it is almost one mountain or 


ap:glomeration of mountains, as those of our countrymen wlio are 
speculating in Spanish railroads are just beginning to discover. 
The interior rises on every side from the sea, and the central 
portions are higlier than any other table-lands in Europe, ranging 
on an average from two to three thousand feet above the level of 
the sea, while from this elevated plain cliains of mountains rise 
again to a still greater height. Madrid, which stands on this 
central plateau, is situated about 2000 feet above tlie level of 
Naples, which lies in the same latitude ; tlie mean temperature of 
Madrid is 59°, while that of Naples is 63° 30'; it is to this 
difference of elevation that the extraordinary difference of cli- 
mate and vegetable productions between the two capitals is to be 
ascribed. Fruits wliich flourish on tlie coasts of Provence and 
Genoa, which lie four degrees more to tlie north than any por- 
tion of Spain, are rarely to be met with in tlie elevated interior 
of the Peninsula : on the other hand, the low and sunny mari- 
time belts abound with productions of a tropical vegetation. The 
mountainous character and general aspect of the coast are nearly 
analogous throughout the circuit which extends from the Basque 
Provinces to Cape Finisterre ; and offer a remarkable contrast 
to those sunny alluvial plains which extend, more or less, from 
Cadiz to Barcelona, and which closely resemble each other in 
vegetable productions, such as the fig, orange, pomegranate, 
aloe, and carob tree, which grow everywhere in profusion, except 
in those parts where the mountains come down abruptly into the 
sea itself. Again, the central districts, composed of vast plains 
and steppes, Parameras, Tierras de campo, y Seccmos, closely 
resemble each other in their monotonous denuded aspect, in 
their scarcity of fruit and timber, and their abundance of cereal 

Spanish geographers have divided tiie Peninsula into seven 
distinct chains of mountains. These commence with the 
Pyrenees and end witli the Bcetican or Andalucian ranges : these 
cortlilleras, or lines of lofty ridges, arise on each side of inter- 
vening plains, which once formed the basins of internal lakes, 
until the accumulated waters, by bursting through the obstruc- 
tions by whi(!h they were dammed up, found a passage to the 
ocean : the dip or inclination of the country lies from the east 
towards the west, and, accordingly, the cliief rivers which form 

10 ZONES OF SPAIN. [chap. ii. 

the drains and principal water-sheds of the greater parts of the 
surface, flow into the Atlantic : their courses, like the basins 
through which they pass, lie in a transversal and almost a 
parallel direction ; thus the Duero, the Tagus, the Guadiana, 
and the Guadalquivir, all flow into their recipient between their 
distinct chains of mountains. The sources of the supply to these 
leading arteries arise in the longitudinal range of elevations 
which descends all through the Peninsula, approaching rather to 
the eastern than to the western coast, whereby a considerably 
greater length is obtained by each of these four rivers, when 
compared to the Ebro, which disembogues in the Mediter- 

The Moorish geograjDher Alrasi was the first to take difference 
of climate as the rule of dividing the Peninsula into distinct 
portions ; and modern authorities, carrying out this idea, have 
drawn an imaginary line, which runs north-east to south-west, 
thus separating the Peninsula into the northern, or the boreal 
and temperate, and the southern or the torrid, and subdividing 
these two into four zones : nor is this division altogether fanciful, 
for there is no caprice or mistake in tests derived from the 
vegetable world ; manners may make man, but the sun alone 
modifies the plant : man may be fused down by social appliances 
into one uniform mass, but the rude elements are not to be 
civilized, nor can nature be made cosmopolitan, which heaven 

The first or northern zone is the Cantabrian, the European ; 
this portion skirts the base of the Pyrenees, and includes portions 
of Catalonia, Arragon, and Navarre, the Basque provinces, the 
Asturias, and Gallicia. This is the region of humidity, and as 
the winters are long, and the springs and autumns rainy, it 
should only be vifeited in tlie summer. It is a country of hill 
and dale, is intersected by numerous streams which abound in 
fish, and which irrigate rich meadows for pastures. The valleys 
form tlie now improving dairy country of Spain, while the 
mountains furnish the most valuable and available timber of the 
Peninsula. In some parts corn will scarcely ripen, while in 
other.-;, in addition to the cerealia, cider and an ordinary wine 
are produced. It is inhabited by a hardy, independent, and 
rarely subdued population, since tlie mountainous country offers 


natural means of defence to brave higlilanders. It is useless to 
attempt the conquest with a small army, wliile a large one would 
find no means of support in the hungry localities. 

The second zo?ie is the Iberian or eastern, which, in its mari- 
time portions, is more Asiatic tiian European, and where the 
lower classes partake of the Greek and Carthaginian character, 
being false, cruel, and treacherous, yet lively, ingenious, and 
fond of pleasure : this portion commences at Burgos, and 
includes the southern portion of Catalonia and Arragon, with 
parts of Castile, Valencia, and Murcia. The sea-coasts should 
be visited in the spring and autumn, when they are delicious ; 
but they are intensely hot in the summer, and infested with 
myriads of muskitoes. The districts about Burgos are among 
the coldest in Spain, and the thermometer sinks very much 
below the ordinary average of our more temperate climate ; and 
as they have little at any time to attract the traveller, he will 
do well to avoid them except during the summer months. The 
population is grave, sober, and Castilian. The elevation is very 
considerable ; thus the upper valley of the Mifio and some of 
the north-v^'estern portions of Old Castile and Leon are placed 
more than 6000 feet above the level of the sea, and the frosts 
often last for three months at a time. 

The third zone is the Lusitanian, or western, which is by far 
the largest, and includes the central parts of Spain and all 
Portugal. The interior of this portion, and especially the pro- 
vinces of the two Castiles and La Mancha, both in the physical 
condition of the soil and the moral qualities of the inhabitants, 
presents a very unfavourable view of the Peninsida, as these 
inland steppes are burnt up by summer suns, and are tempest 
and wind-rent during winter. The general absence of trees, 
hedges, and enclosures exposes these wide unprotected plains to 
the rage and violence of tlie elements : poverty-stricken nuid 
houses, scattered here and there in the desolate extent, afford a 
wretched home to a poor, proud, and ignorant population ; but 
these localities, which offer in themselves neither pleasure nor 
profit to the stranger, contain manj^ sites and cities of the 
highest interest, wliich none who wish to understand Spain can 
possibly pass by unnoticed. The best periods for visiting this 
portion of Spain are May and June, or September and October. 


The more western districts of this Lusitanian zone are not so 
disagreeable. There in the uplands the ilex and chesnut abound, 
while the rich plains produce vast harvests of corn, and the vine- 
yards powerful red wines. The central table-land, which 
closely resembles the plateau of Mexico, forms nearly one-half 
of the entire area of the Peninsula. The peculiarity of the 
climate is its dryness ; it is not, however, unhealthy, being free 
from the agues and fevers which are prevalent in the lower 
plains, river-swamps, and rice-grounds of parts of Valencia and 
Andalucia. Eain, indeed, is so comparatively scarce on this 
table-land, that the annual quantity on an average does not 
amount to more than ten inches. The least quantity falls in the 
mountain regions near Guadalupe, and on the high plains of 
Cuenca and Murcia, where sometimes eight or nine months pass 
without a drop falling. The occasional thunder-storms do but 
just lay the dust, since here moisture dries up quicker even than 
woman's tears. The face of the earth is tanned, tawny, and 
baked into a veritable terra cotta : everything seems dead and 
burnt on a funeral pile. It is all but a miracle how the prin- 
ciple of life in the green herb is preserved, since the very grass 
appears scorched and dead ; yet when once the rains set in, vege- 
tation springs up, phcenix-like, from the ashes, and bursts forth 
in an inconceivable luxuriance and life. The ripe seeds which 
have fallen on the soil are called into existence, carpeting the 
desert with verdure, gladdening the eye with flowers, and intoxi- 
cating the senses M'ith perfume. The thirsty chinky dry earth 
drinks in these genial showers, and then rising like a giant 
refreslied with wine, puts forth all its strength ; and what vege- 
tation is, where moisture is combined with great heat, cannot 
even be guessed at in lands of stinted suns. The periods of 
rains are the winter and spring, and when these are plentiful, 
all kinds of grain, and in many places wines, are produced in 
abundance. The olive, however, is only to be met with in a 
few favoured localities. 

The fourth zone is the Boetican, which is the most southern 
and African ; it coasts the Mediterranean, basking at the foot of 
the mountains which rise behind and form the mass of the Pen- 
insula : this mural barrier otters a sure protection against the 
cold winds which sweep across the central region. Nothing can 


be more striking than the descent from the table elevations into 
these maritime strips ; in a few hours the face of nature is com- 
-pletely clianged, and the traveller passes from the climate and 
vegetation of Europe into that of Africa, This region is cha- 
racterised by a dry burning atmosphere during a large part of 
the year. The winters are short and temperate, and consist 
rather in rain than in cold, for in the sunny valleys ice is scarcely 
known except for eating ; the springs and autumns delightful 
beyond all conception. Much of the cultivation depends on 
artificial irrigation, which was carried by the Moors to the 
highest perfection : indeed water, under tiiis forcing, vivifying 
sun, is the blood of the earth, and synonymous with fertility: 
the productions are tropical ; sugar, cotton, rice, the orange, 
lemon, and date. The algarrobo, the carob tree, and the adeJfa, 
the oleander, may be considered as forming boundary marks be- 
tween this the tierra caliente, or torrid district, and the colder 
regions by which it is encompassed. 

Such are the geographical divisions of nature with which the 
vegetable and animal productions are closely connected ; and we 
shall presently enter somewhat more fully into the climate of 
Spain, of which the natives are as proud as if they had made it 
themselves. Tliis Bcetican zone, Andaliicia, which contains in 
itself many of the most interesting cities, sites, and natural 
beauties of the Peninsula, will always take precedence in any 
plan of the traveller, and each of these points has its own 
peculiar attractions. Tliese embrace a wide range of varied 
scenery and objects ; and Andalucia, easy of access, may be gone 
over almost at every portion of the year. The winters may be 
spent at Cadiz, Seville, or Malaga ; the summers in the cool 
mountains of Eonda, Aracena, or Granada. April, May, and 
June, or September, October, and November, are, however, the 
most preferable. Those who go in the spring should reserve 
June for the mountains ; those who go in the autumn should 
reverse the plan, and commence with Ronda and Granada, 
ending with Seville and Cadiz. 

Spain, it has thus been shown, is one mountain, or rather a 
jumble of mountains, — for the principal and secondary ranges are 
all more or less connected with each other, and descend in a 
serpentising direction throughout the Peninsula, with a general 

14 SPANISH MOUNTAINS. [chap. n. 

inclination to the west. Nature, by thus dislocating the 
country, seems to have suggested, nay, almost to have forced, 
localism and isolation to the inhabitants, who each in their val- 
leys and districts are shut off from their neighbours, whom to 
love, they are enjoined in vain. 

The internal communication of the Peninsula, which is thus 
divided by the mountain-walls, is effected by some good roads, 
few and far between, and which are carried over the most con- 
venient points, where the natural dips are the lowest, and the 
ascents and descents the most practicable. These passes are 
called Puertos — port's, or gates. There are, indeed, mule-tracks 
and goat-paths over other and intermediate portions of the chain, 
but tliey are difficult and dangerous, and being seldom provided 
witii ventas or villages, are fitter for smugglers and bandits than 
honest men : the farthest and fairest way about will always be 
found the best and shortest road. 

The Spanish mountains in general have a dreary and harsh 
character, yet not without a certain desolate sublimity : the 
highest are frequently capped witli snow, which glistens in the 
clear sky. They are rax'ely clad with forest trees ; the scarped 
and denuded ridges cut with a serrated outline the clean clear 
blue sky. The granitic masses soar above the green valley or 
yellow corn-plains in solitary state, like the castles of a feudal 
baron, that lord it over all below, with which they are too proud 
to have aught in common. These mountains are seen to greatest 
advantage at the rise and setting of the sun, for during the day 
the vertical rays destroy all form by removing shadows. 

These geographical peculiarities of Spain, and particularly the 
existence of the great central elevation, when once attained are 
apt to be forgotten. Tlie country rises from the coast, directly' 
in the north-western provinces, and in some of the southern and 
eastern, with an intervening alluvial strip and swell : but when 
once the ascent is accomplished, no real descent ever takes place 
— we are then on the summit of a vast elevated mass. Tiie roads 
indeed apparently ascend and descend, but the mean height is 
seldom diminislied : tlie interior lulls or plains are undulations 
of one mountain. The traveller is often deceived at the apparent 
low level of snow-clad ranges, such as the Guadarrama; this 
will be accounted for by adding the great elevation of their bases 


above the level of tlie sea. The palace of the Escorial, which is 
placed at the foot of the Guadarrania, and at the head of a seem- 
ing plain, stands in reality at 2725 feet above Valencia, wliile 
the summer residence of the king at La Granja, in the same 
chain, is thirty feet liigher than the summit of Vesuvius. This, 
indeed, is a castle in the air — a cliateau en Espagne, and wortliy 
of the most German potentate to whom that element belongs, as 
the sea does to Britannia. The mean temperature on the plateau 
of Spain is as 15*^ Reaumur, while that of the coast is as 18" and 
19^, in addition to the protection from cutting winds which their 
mountainous backgrounds afford ; nor is the traveller less de- 
ceived as regards the heights of the interior mountains tlian he 
is with the champaigns, or table-land plains. The eye wanders 
over a vast level extent bounded only by the horizon, or a faint 
blue line of other distant sierras ; this space, which appears one 
townless level, is intersected with deep ravines, barrancos, in 
which villages lie concealed, and streams, arroyos, flow unper- 
ceived. Another important effect of this central elevation is 
the searching dryness and rarefication of the air. It is often 
highly prejudicial to strangers ; the least exposure, which is 
very tem.pting under a burning sun, will often bring on ophthal- 
mia, irritable colics, and inflammatory diseases of the lungs and 
vital organs. Such are the causes of the pulmonia, whicli carries 
off the invalid in a few days, and is the disease of Madrid. The 
frozen blasts descending from the snow-clad Guadarrania catcii 
the incautious passenger at the ttirning of streets which are roast- 
ing under a fierce si.n. Is it to be wondered at, that this capital 
should be so very insalubrious ? in winter you are frozen alive, 
in summer baked. A man takina: a walk for the benefit of his 
health, crosses with his pores open from an oven to an ice-house ; 
catch-cold introduces the Spanish doctor, who soon in his turn 
presents the undertaker. 

As tlie Pyrenees possess an European interest at this moinent 
Avhen the Napoleon of Peace proposes to annihilate their ex- 
istence, which defied Louis XIV. and Buonaparte, some de- 
tails may be not unacceptable. This gigantic barrier, whicli 
divides Spain and France, is connected with the dorsal chain 
which comes down from Taitary and Asia. It stretches far be- 
yond the transversal spine, for the mountains of the Basque Pro- 

16 THE PYRENEES. [chap. ii. 

vinces, Asturias, and Gallicia, are its continuation. The Pyrenees, 
properly speaking, extend E. to W., in length about 270 miles, 
being both broadest and highest in the central portion^;, 
where the width is about 60 miles, and the elevations exceed 
11,000 feet. The spurs and offsets of this great transversal 
spine penetrate on both sides into the lateral valleys like ribs 
from a back-bone. The central nucleus slopes gradually E. to 
the gentle Mediterranean, and W. to the fierce Atlantic, in a 
long uneven swell. 

This range of mountains was called by the Romans Monies 
and Saltus Pyrenei, and by the Greeks Ylvp-qv-q, probably from 
a local Iberian word, but which they, as usual, catching at 
sound, not sense, connected with their Yivp, and then bolstered- 
up their erroneous derivation by a legend framed to fit the name, 
asserting that it either alluded to ajire through which certain 
precious metals were discovered, or because tlie lofty summits 
were often struck with lightning, and dislocated by the volcanos. 
According to the Iberians, Hercules, when on his way to "lift" 
Geryon's cattle, was hospitably received by Bebryx, a petty ruler 
i;i these mountains ; whereupon the demigod got drunk, and ra- 
vished his host's daughter Pyrene^ who died of grief, when Her- 
cules, sad and sober, made the wliole range re-echo with her 
name ; a legend which, like some others in Spain, requires con- 
firmation, for the Phoenicians called these ranges Purani, from 
the forests, Pura meaning wood in Hebrew. Tlie Basques have, 
of course, their etymology, some saying that the real root is 
Biri, an elevation, while others prefer Bierri enac, the " two 
countries," wliich, separated by the range, were ruled by Tubal ; 
but wlien Spaniards once begin with Tubal, the best plan is to 
shut the book. 

The Maledcia is the loftiest peak, although the Pico del Me- 
diodia and the Canigii, because rising at once out of plains and 
therefore having the greatest apparent altitudes, were long con- 
sidered to be the highest ; but now tliese French usurpers are 
dethroned. Seen from a distance, the range appears to be" one 
mountain-ridge, with broken pinnacles, but, in fact, it consists 
of two distinct lines, vviiich are parallel, but not continuous. 
The one which commences at the ocean is the most forward, 
being at least 30 miles more in advance towards the south than 


the corresponding line, which commences from the Mediter- 
ranean. The centre is the point of dislocation, and liere the 
ramifications and reticulations are the most intricate, as it is the 
key-stone of the system, M'hich is buttressed up by Las Trea 
Sorellus, the three sisters Mo)de Peidido, Cylindro, and Mar- 
bore. Here is the source of tlie Garonne, La Garona ; here 
the scenery is the grandest, and the lateral valleys the longest 
and widest. The smaller spurs enclose valleys, down each of 
which pours a stream : thus tiie Ebro, Garona, and Bidasoa are 
fed from the mountain source. These tributaries are generally 
called in France Gaves,* and in some parts on the Spanish side 
Gabas ; but Gav signifies a " river," antl may be traced in our 
Avon ; and Humboldt derives it from the l^sque Gav, a " hol- 
low or ravine ;" cavus. The parting of these waters, or their 
tiowing down either N. or S., should naturally mark the line of 
division between France and Spain : such, however, is not the 
case, as part of Ccrdana belongs to France, while Aran be- 
longs to Spain ; thus each country possesses a key in its 
neighbour's territory. It is singular that this obvious incon- 
venience should not have been remedied by some exchange 
wlien the long-disputed boundary-question was settled between 
Charles IV. and the French republic. 

Mos,t of the passes over this Alpine barrier are impracticable 
for carriages, and remain much in the same state as in the time 

* The -word Gahaclw, -wliich is the most offensive vituperative of the 
Spauiard against the Frenchman, and has by some been tliought to mean 
"those who dwell on (xaves," is the Arabic L'abacJt, detestable, filthy, or •' qui 
prava indole est, morihu'-que." In fact the real meaning cannot be further 
alluded to beyond referring to the clever tale of El Frances ij Espa/iol. by 
Quevedo. The antipathy to the Gaul is natural and national, and dates far 
bv-yond history. This nickname was first given in the eighth century, wheu 
Charleraasne, the Buonaparte of his day, invaded Spain, on the abdication 
and cession of the crown by the chaste Alonso, the prototype of the wittol 
Charles IV. ; then the Spanish Moors and Christians, foes and friends, forgot 
their hatreds of creeds in the greater loathing for the abhorred intruder, whose 
'• peerage fell " in the memorable passes of Roncesvalles. The true deriva- 
tion of the word GabacJw, which now resounds from these Pyrenees to the 
Straits, is blinked in the royal academical dictionary, such was the servile 
adulation of the members to their French patron Philip V. Mueraii los 
GabacJws, " Death vo the miscreants," was the rally cry of Spain after the 
inhuman butcheries of the terrorist Murat; nor have the echoes died away ; 
a spark may kindle the prepared mine: of what an unspeakable value is a 
natio'.ial war-cry v.'hich at once gives to a whole people a shibboleth, a rally- 
ing watch-word to a common cause ! Vox populi vox Dei. 

18 THE PYRENEES. [chap. n. 

of the Moors, who from them called the Pyrenean range Albert, 
from the Roman Portce, the ridge of " gates." Many of tlie wild 
passes are only known to the natives and smugglers, and are 
often impracticable from the snow ; while even in summer they 
are dangerous, being exposed to mists and the hurricanes of 
mighty rushing winds. The two best carriageable lines of inter- 
communication are placed at each extremity : that to the west 
passes through Irun ; that to the east through Figueras. 

The Spanish Pyrenees offer few attractions to the lovers of 
the fleshly comforts of cities ; but the scenery, sporting, geology, 
and botany are truly Alpine, and will well repay those who can 
'• rough it " considerably. The contrast which the unfrequented 
Spanish side offers to the crowded opposite one is great. In Spain 
the mountains themselves are less abrupt, less covered with snow, 
while the numerous and much frequented baths in the French 
Pyrenees have created roads, diligences, hotels, tables-d'hote, 
cooks, Ciceronis, donkeys, and so forth ; for the Badauds de 
Paris who babble about green fields and des belles horreurs, but 
who seldom go beyond the immediate vicinity and hackneyed 
" lions." A want of good taste and real perception of the sublime 
and beautiful is nowhere more striking, says Mr. Erskine 
Murray, than on the French side, where mankind remains pro- 
foundly ignorant of the real beauties of the Pyrenees, which 
have been chiefly explored by the English, who love nature with 
all their heart and soul, who worship her alike in her shyest re- 
treats and in her wildest forms. Nevertheless, on the north side 
many comforts and appliances for the tourist are to be had ; nay, 
invalids and ladies in search of the picturesque can ascend to the 
Breche de Roland. Once, however, cross the frontier, and a 
sudden change comes over all facilities of locomotion. Stern 
is the first welcome of the " hard land of Iberia," scarce is the 
food for body or mind, and deficient the accommodation for man 
or beast, and simply because there is small demand for either. 
No Spaniard ever comes here for pleasure ; hence the localities 
are given uj) to the smuggler and izard. 

The Oriental iriaesthetic incnriousness for things, old stones, 
wild scenery, &c., is increased by political reasons and fears. The 
neighbour, from the time of the Celt down to to-day, has ever been 
the coveter, ravager, and terror of Spain : her " knavish tricks," 


fire and rapine are too numerous to be blinked or written away, 
too atrocious to be forgiven : to revenge becomes a sacred duty. 
However governments may change, the policy of France is im- 
mutable. Perfidy, backed by violence, " ruse doublee de force," 
is the state maxim from Louis XIV. and Buonaparte down to 
Louis-Philippe : the principle is the same, whether the instru- 
ment employed be the sword or wedding ring. The weaker Spain 
is thus linked in the embrace of her stronger neighbour, and has 
been made alternately her dupe and victim, and degraded into 
becoming a mere satellite, to be dragged along by fiery Mars. 
France has forced her to share all her bad fortune, but never has 
permitted her to participate in her success. Spain has been tied to 
the car of her defeats, but never has been allowed to mount it in the 
day of triumph. Her friendship has always tended to denational- 
ise Spain, and by entailing the forced enmity of England, has 
caused to her the loss of her navies and colonies in the new world. 

" The Pyreneau boundary," says the Duke of Wellington, 
" is the most vulnerable frontier of France, probably the only 
vulnerable one ;" accordingly she has always endeavoured to 
dismantle the Spanish defences and to foster insurrections and 
pronuncmmientos in Catalonia, for Spain's infirmity is her oppor- 
tunity, and therefore the " sound policy " of the rest of Europe 
is to see Spain strong, independent, and able to hold her own 
Pyrenean key. 

While France therefore has improved her means of approach 
and invasion, Spain, to whom the past is prophetic of the future, 
has raised obstacles, and has left her protecting barrier as broken 
and hungry as when planned by her tutelar divinity. Nor are 
her higlilanders more practicable than their granite fastnesses. 
Here dwell the smuggler, the rifle sportsman, and all who defy 
the law: here is bred the hardy peasant, who, accustomed to 
scale mountains and fight wolves, becomes a ready raw material 
for the guerrilleros, and none were ever more formidable to 
Rome or France than those marshalled in these glens by Ser- 
torius and Mina. When the tocsin bell rings out, a hornet swarm 
of armed men, the weed of the hills, starts up from every rock 
and brake. The liatred of the Frenchman, which the Duke 
said formed " part of a Spaniard's nature," seems to increase in 
intensity in proportion to vicinity, for as they touch, so they fret 


20 THE PYRENEES. [chap. ii. 

and rub each other : here it is the antipathy of an antithesis ; 
the incompatibility of the saturnine and slow, with the mercurial 
and rapid; of the proud, enduring, and ascetic, against the vain, 
the fickle, and sensual ; of the enemy of innovation and change, 
to the lover of variety and novelty ; and however tyrants and 
tricksters may assert in the gilded galleries of Versailles that 
// rCy a plus de Pyrmees, this party-wall of Alps, this barrier 
of snow and hurricane, does and will exirst for ever : placed there 
by Providence, as was said by the Gothic prelate Saint Isidore, 
they ever have forbidden and ever will forbid the banns of an 
unnatural alliance, as in the days of Silius Italicus : 

'• Pyrene celsa nimbosi verticis arce 
Divisos Celtis late prospectat Hiberos 
Atque scterua tenet magnis divortia terris." 

If the eagle of Buonaparte could never build in the Arragonese 
Sierra, the lily of the Bourbon assuredly will not take root in 
the Castilian plain ; so sings Ariosto : 

" Che non lice 

Che '1 giglio in quel terreno habbia radice !" 

This inveterate condition either of pronounced hostility, or at 
best of armed neutrality, has long rendered these localities dis- 
agreeable to the man of the note-book. Tlie rugged mountain 
frontiers consist of a series of secluded districts, which constitute 
the entire world to the natives, w ho seldom go beyond the natural 
walls by which they are bounded, except to smuggle. This 
vocation is the curse of the country ; it fosters a wild reliance on 
self-defence, a habit of border foray and insurrection, which 
seems as necessary to them as a moral excitement and combustible 
element, as carbon and hydrogen are in their physical bodies. 
Tlieir habitual suspicion against prying foreigners, which is an 
Oriental and Iberian instinct, converts a curious traveller into a 
spy or partisan. Spanisli autliorities, who seldom do these 
things except on compulsion, cannot understand the gratuitous 
braving of iiardship and danger for its own sake — the botanizing 
and geologizing, &c., of the nature and adventure-loving English, 
The impc.rtinente curioso may possibly escape observation in a 
Spanish city and crowd, but in these lonely hills it is out of the 
question : he is the observed of all observers ; and they, from 


long smuggling and sporting habits, are always on the look-out, 
and are keen-sighted as hawks, gipseys, and beasts of prey. 
Latterly some who, by being placed immediately under the 
French boundary, have seen the glitter of our tourists' coin, 
have become more humanized, and anxious to obtain a share in 
the profits of the season. 

The geology and botany have yet to be properly investigated. 
In the metal-pregnant Pyrenees rude forges of iron abound, but 
everything is conducted on a small, unscientific scale, and pro- 
bably after the unchanged primitive Iberian system. Fuel is 
scarce, and transport of ores on muleback expensive. The iron 
is at once inferior to the English and much dearer : tlie tools 
and implements used on both sides of the Pyrenees are at least a 
century behind ours ; while absurd tariffs, which prevent the 
importation of a cheaper and better article, retard improve- 
ments in agriculture and manufactures, and perpetuate poverty 
and ignorance among backward, half-civilised populations. The 
timber, moreover, has suffered much from the usual neglect, 
waste, and improvidence of the natives, who destroy more than 
they consume, and never replant. The sporting in these lonely 
wild districts is excellent, for where man seldom penetrates the 
feras naturse multiply : the bear is, however, getting scarce, as a 
premium is placed on every head destroyed. The grand object is 
the Cabra Montanez, or jRupicapra, German Steinbock, the 
Bouquetin of the French, the Izard {Ibex, becco, bouc, bock, 
buck). The fascination of this pursuit, like that of the Chamois 
in Switzerland, leads to constant and even fatal accidents, as this 
shy animal lurks in almost inaccessible localities, and must be 
stalked with the nicest skill. The sporting on the north side is 
far inferior, as the cooks of the table-d'hotes have waged a guerra 
al cuchillo, a war to the knife, and fork too, against even les 
petits oiseaux ; but your French artiste persecutes even minnows, 
as all sport and fair play is scouted, and everything gives way 
for the pot. The Spaniards, less mechanical and gastronomic, 
leave the feathered and finny tribes in comparative peace. Ac- 
cordingly the streams abound with trout, and those whicli flow into 
the Atlantic with salmon. The lofty Pyrenees are not only alem- 
bics of cool crystal streams, but contain, like the heart of Sappho, 
sources of warm springs under a bosom of snow. The most 

22 THE PYRENEES. [chap. ii. 

celebrated issue on the iiortli side, or at least those which are the 
most known and frequented, for the Spaniard is a small bather, 
and no great drinker of medicinal waters. Accommodations at 
the baths on liis side scarcely exist, while even those in France 
are paltry when compared to the spas of Germany, and dirty and 
indecent when contrasted with those of England. The scenery 
is alpine, a jumble of mountain, precipice, glacier, and forest, 
enlivened by the cataract or hurricane. The natives, when not 
smugglers or giierrilleros, are rude, simple, and pastoral : they 
are poor and picturesque, as people are who dwell in mountains. 
Plains winch produce " bread stuffs "may be richer, but what 
can a traveller or painter do with their monotonous common- 
place ? 

In these wild tracts the highlanders in summer lead their 
flocks up to mountain huts and dwell with their cattle, strug- 
gling against poverty and wild beasts, and endeavouring really 
to keep the wolf from the door : their watch-dogs are mag- 
nificent ; the sheep are under admirable control — being, as it 
were, in the presence of the enemy, they know the voice of their 
shepherds, or rather the peculiar whistle and cry : their wool is 
largely smuggled into France, and when manufactured in the 
shape of coarse cloth is then re-smuggled back again. 



The Rivers of Spain— Bridges— Navigation— The Ebro aud Tagus. 

There are six great rivers in Spain, — the arteries which run 
between the seven mountain chains, the vertebrae of the geolo- 
gical skeleton. These water-sheds are each intersected in their 
extent by olhers on a minor scale, by valleys and indentations, 
in each of which runs its own stream. Thus the rains and 
melted snows are all collected in an infinity of ramifications, and 
are carried by these tributary conduits into one of the main trunks, 
which all, with the exception of the Ebro, empty themselves into 
the Atlantic. The Duero and Tagus, unfortunately for Spain, 
disembogue in Portugal, and thus become a portion of a foreign 
dominion exactly where their commercial importance is the 
greatest. Philip 11. saw the true value of the possession of an 
angle which rovxnded Spain, and insured to her tlie possession of 
these valuable outlets of internal produce, and inlets for external 
commerce. Portugal annexed to Spain gave more real power to 
his throne than the dominion of entire continents across the 
Atlantic, and is the secret object of every Spanish government's 
ambition. The 3Ii~io, whicli is the shortest of these rivers, runs 
through a bosom of fertility. The Tajo, Tagus, which tlie 
fancy of poets has sanded with gold and embanked witli roses, 
tracks much of its dreary way through rocks and comparative 
barrenness. Tlie Guadiana creeps through lonely Estremadura, 
infecting the low plains with miasma. Tlie Guadalquivir eats 
out its deep banks amid the sunny olive-clad regions of Anda- 
lucia, as the Ebro divides the levels of Arragon. Spain abounds 
with brackish streams, Snlados, and with salt-mines, or saline 
deposits after the evaporation of the sea-waters ; indeed, tlie soil 
of the central portions is so strongly impregnated with " villainous 
saltpetre," that the small province of La Mancha alone could 
furnish materials to blow up the world ; the surface of these 

24 SPANISH RIVERS. [chap. hi. 

regions, always arid, i.s every day becoming' more so, from the 
singular antipathy which the inhabitants of tlie interior have 
against trees. There is nothing to check tiie power of rapid 
evaporation, no shelter to protect or preserve moisture. The soil 
becomes more and more parched and dried up, insomuch tliat in 
some parts it has almost ceased to be available for cultivatiorx : 
another serious evil, which arises from want of plantations, is, 
that the slopes of Iiills are everywhere liable to constant denuda- 
tion of soil after heavv rain. There is nothin"- to break the 
descent of the water ; hence the naked, barren stone summits 
of many of the sierras, which liave been pared and peeled of every 
particle capable of nourishing vegetation : they are skeletons 
where life is extinct ; not only is the soil thus lost, but the 
detritus washed down either forms bars at the mouths of rivers, 
or chokes up and raises their beds ; they are thus rendered liable 
to overflow their banks, and convert the adjoining plains into 
pestilential swamps. The supply of water, which is afforded by 
periodical rains, and which ouglit to support the reservoirs of 
rivers, is carried oft' at once in violent floods, rather tlian in a 
gentle gradual disembocation. From its mountainous character 
Spain has very few lakes, as the fall is too con.^iderable to allow 
water to accumulate ; the exceptions which do exist might with 
greater propriety be termed lochs — not that they are to be com- 
pared ill size or beauty to some of those in Scotland. The 
volume in the principal rivers of Spain has diminished, and is 
diminishing; thus some which once were navigable, are so no 
longer, while the artificial canals which were to have been sub- 
stituted remain unfinished : the progress of deterioration ad- 
vances, while little is done to counteract or amend what every 
year must render more diflicult and expensive, while the means 
of repair and correction will diminish in ecpial proportion, from 
the poverty occasioned by the evil, and by tlie fearful extent 
which it will be allowed to attain. However, several grand 
water-companies have been lately formed, who are to dig Arte- 
sian wells, finish canals, navigate rivers with steamers, and issue 
shares at a premium, whicli will be effected if nothing else is. 

The rivers wiiich are really adapted to navigation are, how- 
ever, only those which are perpetually fed by those tributary 
streams that flow down from mountains which are covered with 


snow all the year, and these are not many. The majority of 
Spanish rivers are very scanty of water during the summer time, 
and very rapid in their ilow when filled by rains or melting 
snow : during these periods they are impracticable for boats. 
They are, moreover, much exhausted by being drained off, 
sangrado — tliat is, bled, for the purposes of artificial irrigation ; 
thus, at Madrid and Valencia, the wide beds of the Manzanares 
and the Turia are frequently dry as the sands of the seashore 
when the tide is out. They seem only to be entitled to be called 
rivers by courtesy, because they have so many and such splendid 
bridges ; as numerous are the jokes cut by the newly-arrived 
stranger, who advises the townsfolk to sell one of them to pur- 
chase water, or compares their thirsting arches to the rich man 
in torments, who prays for one drop ; but a heavy rain in the 
mountains soon shows the necessity lor their strength and length, 
for their wide and lofty arches, their buttress-like piers, wiiich 
before had appeared to be rather the freaks of architectural 
magnificence than the works of public utility. Those who live 
in a comparatively level country can scarcely form an idea of 
the rapidity and fearful destruction of the river inundations in 
this land of mountains. Tlie deluge rolls forth in an avalanche, 
the rising water coming dowa tier above tier like a flight of 
steps let loose. These tides carry everything before them — 
scarring and gullying up the earth, tearing down rocks, trees, 
and houses, and strewing far and wide tlie relics of ruin ; but the 
fierce fury is short-lived, and is spnnt in its own violence ; thus 
the traveller at Madrid, if he wishes to see its Thames, should 
run down or take the 'bus as he can, when it rains, or the river 
will be gone before he gets there. When the Spaniards, under 
those blockheads Blake and Cuesta, lost the battle of Rio Seco, 
which gave Madrid to Buonaparte, the French soldiers, in cross- 
ing the dry river bed in pursuit of the fugitives, exclaimed, — 
" Why Spanish rivers run away too !" 

INIany of these beds serve in remote districts, where highways 
and bridges are thought to be superfluous luxuries, for the double 
purposes of a river when there is water in tliem, and as a road 
when there is not. Again, in this land of anomalies, some 
streams liave no bridges, while other bridges have no streams ; 
the most remarkable of these j^ontcs asinorum is at Coria, where 

26 THE EBRO. [chap, m. 

the Alagon is crossed at an inconvenient, ?.nd often dangerous 
ferry, while a noble bridge of five arches stands high and dry in 
the meadows close by. This has arisen from the river having 
quitted its old channel in some inundation ; or, as Spaniards 
say, salido de su madre, gone out from its mother, who does 
not seem to know that it is out, or certainly does not care, since 
no steps have ever been taken by the Corians to coax it back 
again under its old arches ; they call on Hercules to turn this 
Alpheus, and rely in tlie meantime on their proverb, that all 
fickle, unfaithful rivers repent and return to their legitimate 
beds after a thousand years, for nothing is hurried in Spain, 
Despues de anos mil, vuelve el rio a sit cubil. On the fishing 
in these wandering streams we shall presently say something. 

The navigation of Spanish rivers is Oriental, classical, and 
imperfect ; the boats, barges, and bargemen carry one back 
beyond the mediaeval ages, and are better calculated for artistical 
than commercial purposes. The "great river," the Guadal- 
quivir, which was navigable in the time of the Eomans as far 
as Cordova, is now scarcely practicable for sailing-vessels of a 
moderate size even up to Seville. Passengers, however, have 
facilities afforded them by the steamers which run backwards 
and forwards between this capital and Cadiz ; these conveniences, 
it need not be said, were introduced from England, although 
the first steamer that ever paddled in waters was of Spanish in- 
vention, and was launched at Barcelona in 1543 ; but the 
Spanish Chancellor of the Exchequer of the time was a poor 
red tapist, and opposed the whole thing, which, as usual, fell to 
the ground. The steamers on the Guadalquivir are safe ; 
indeed, in our times, the advertisements always stated that a 
mass was said before starting in the heretical contrivance, just as 
to this day Birmingham locomotives, when a railway is first 
opened in France, are sprinkled with holy water, and blessed by 
a bishop, wliich may be a new " wrinkle " to Mr. Hudson and 
the primate of York. 

There is considerable talk in Arragon about rendering the 
Ebro navigable, and it has been surveyed this year by two en- 
gineers — English of course. The local newspapers compared the 
astonishment of the herns and peasantry, created on the banks by 
this arrival, as second only to that occasioned when Don Quixote 

CHAi-. iii.l THE TAGUS. 27 

and Sancho ventured near the same spot into the enchanted 

There has been still older and greater talk about establishing 
a water communication between Lisbon and Toledo, by means of 
the Tagus. This mighty river, which is in every body's mouth, 
because the capital of the kingdom of Port wine is placed at its 
embouchure, is in fact almost as little known in Spain and out 
of it, as the Niger. It has been our fate to behold it in many 
places and various phases of its most poetical and picturesque 
course — first green and arrowy amid the yellow corn fields of 
New Castile ; then freshening the sweet Tenipe of Aranjuez, 
clothing the gardens with verdure, and filling the nightingale- 
tenanted glens with groves ; then boiling and rushing around 
the granite ravines of rock-built Toledo, hurrying to escape from 
the cold shadows of its deep prison, and dashing joyously into 
light and liberty, to wander far away into silent plains, and on 
to Talavera, wliere its waters were dyed with brave blood, and 
gladly reflected the flash of the victorious bayonets of England, 
— triumphantly it rolls thence, under the shattered arches of 
Almaraz, down to desolate Estremadura, in a stream as tranquil 
as the azure sky by which it is curtained, yet powerful enough to 
force tlie mountains at Alcantara. There the bridge of Trajan 
is wortli going a hundred miles to see ; it stems the now fierce 
condensed stream, and ties the rocky gorges together ; grand, 
simple, and solid, tinted by the tender colours of seventeen cen- 
turies, it looms like the grey skeleton of Roman power, with all 
the sentiment of loneliness, magnitude, and the interest of tlie past 
and present. Such are the glorious scenes we have beheld 
and sketched ; such are the sweet waters in which we have re- 
freslied our dusty and weary limbs. 

How stern, solemn, and striking is this Tagus of Spain ! No 
commerce has ever made it its higliway — no English steamer has 
ever civilized its waters like those of France and Germany. Its 
rocks have witnessed battles, not peace ; have reflected castles 
and dungeons, not quays or warehouses : few cities have risen on 
its banks, as on those of the Thames and Rhine ; it is truly a 
river of Spain — that isolated and solitary land. Its waters are 
without boats, its banks without life ; man has never laid hi.<» 

28 THE TAGUS. [chap, hi 

hand upon its billows, nor enslaved their free and independent 

It is impossible to read Tom Campbell's admirable description 
of the Danube before its poetry was discharged by the smoke 
of our ubiquitous countrymen's Dampf Schiff, without applying 
his lines to tliis uncivilised Tagus : — 

" Yet have I loved thy -wild abode, 

Unknown, unploughed, untrodden shore, 
Where scarce the woodman finds a road, 

And scarce the fisher plies an oar; 
For man's neglect I love thee more, 

That art nor avarice intrude 
To tame thy torrent's thunder shock, 
Or prune the vintage of thy rock, 
Magnificently rude !" 

As rivers in a state of nature are somewhat scarce in Great 
Britain, one more extract may be perhaps pardoned, and the 
more as it tends to illustrate Spanish character, and explain 
las cosas de EspaTta, or the things of Spain, which it is the 
object of these humble pages to accomplish. 

The Tagus rises in tliat extraordinary jumble of mountains, 
full of fossil bones, botany, and trout, that rise between Cuenca 
and Teruel, and which being all but unknown, clamour loudly 
for the disciples of Isaac Walton and Dr. Buckland. It disem- 
bogues into the sea at Lisbon, having flowed 375 miles in Spain, 
of which nature destined it to be the aorta. The Toledan chro- 
niclers derive the name from Tagus, fifth king of Iberia, but 
Bochart traces it to Dag, Dagon, a fish, as besides being con- 
sidered auriferous, the ancients pronounced it to be piscatory. 
Not that the present Spaniards trouble their head more about the 
fishes here than if tliey were crocodiles. Grains of gold are 
indeed found, but barely enough to support a poet, by amphi- 
bious paupers, called artesilleros from their baskets, in which 
they collect the sand, which is passed through a sieve. 

The Tagus might easily be made navigable to the sea, and 
then with the Xarama connect Madrid and Lisbon, and facilitate 
importation of colonial produce, and exportation of wine and 
grain. Such an act would confer more benefits upon Spain than 
ten thousand charters or paper constitutions, guaranteed by the 


sword of Narvaez, or the word and honour of Louis-Philippe. 
The performance has been contemplated by many foreigjiers, the 
Toledans looking lazily on ; thus in 1581, Antonelli, a Neapo- 
litan, and Juanelo Turriano, a Milanese, suggested the scheme 
to Philip II., then master of Portugal ; but money uas wanting 
— the old story — for his revenues were wasted in relic-removino- 
and in building the useless Escorial, and nothing was made except 
water parties, and odes to the " wise and great king " who ivas to 
perform the deed, to the tune of Macbeth's witches, " I'll do, 
I'll do, I'll do," for here the future is preferred to the present 
tense. The project dozed until 1641, when two other foreigners, 
Julio Martelli and Luigi Carduchi, in vain roused Philip IV. 
from his siesta, who soon after losing Portugal itself, forthwith 
forgot the Tagus. Another century glided away, when in 17oo 
Richard Wall, an Irishman, took the thing up ; but Charles III., 
busy in waging French wars against England, wanted cash. 
The Tagus has ever since, as it roared over its rocky bed, like an 
unbroken barb, laughed at the Toledan who dreamily angles for 
impossibilities on the bank, invoking Brunei, Hercules, and 
Rothschild, instead of putting his own shoulder to the water- 
wheel. In 1808 the scheme was revived ; F'°- Xavier de Ca- 
banas, who had studied in England our system of canals, pub- 
lished a survey of the whole river ; this folio ' Memoria sobre la 
Navigacioti del Tajo,' or, ' Memoir on the Navigation of the 
Tagus,' Madrid, 1829, reads like the blue book of one dis- 
covering the source of the Nile, so desert-like are the unpeopled, 
uncultivated districts between Toledo and Abrantes. Ferd. VII. 
thereupon issued an approving paper decree, and so there the 
thing ended, although Cabanas had engaged with Messrs. Wallis 
and Mason for the machinery, &c. Recently the project has 
been renewed by Senor Bernuidez de Castro, an intelligent gen- 
tleman, who, from long residence in England, has imbibed the 
schemes and energy of the foreigner. Vertmos I " we shall see ;" 
for hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper, says Eacon ; and 
in Spain things are l)egun late in the day, and never finished ; so 
at least says the proverb r — JS'/i EspaTia se enqneza tarde, y se 
acaha nunca. 



Divisions into Provinces — Ancient Demarcations — Modern Departments — 
Population — llevenue — Spanish Stocks. 

Ix the divisions of the Peninsula which are effected by moun- 
tains, rivers, and climate, a leading principle is to be traced 
throughout, for it is laid down by the unerring liand of nature. 
The artificial, political, and conventional arrangement into 
kingdoms and provinces is entirely the work of accident and 
absence of design. 

These provincial divisions were formed by the gradual union 
of many smaller and previously independent portions, which 
have been taken into Spain as a whole, just as our inconvenient 
counties constitute the kingdom of England ; for the incon- 
veniences of these results of the ebb and flow of the different 
tides in the affairs of man's dominion — these boundaries not 
fixed by the lines and rules of theodolite-armed land surveyors, 
use had provided remedies, and long habit had reconciled the 
inhabitants to divisions which suited them better than any new 
arrangement, however scientifically calculated, according to sta- 
tistical and geographical principles. 

The French, during their intrusive rule, were horrified at this 
" chaos administratif," this apparent irregularity, and introduced 
their own system of dipartements, by which districts were neatly 
squared out and people re-arranged, as if Spain were a chess- 
board and Spaniards mere pawns — peones, or footmen, which 
this people, calling itself one of cahalleros, tliat is, riders on 
horses par excellence, assuredly is not : nor, indeed, in this 
paradise of the church militant, can the moves of any Spanish 
bishop or kniglit be calculated on with mathematical certainty, 
since they seldom will take the steps to-morrow which they did 

Accordingly, however specious the theory, it was found to be 


no easy matter to carry departementalization out in practice : 
individuality laughs at the solemn nonsense of in-door pedants, 
who would class men like ferns or shells. The failure in this 
attempt to remodel ancient demarcations and recombine antipa- 
thetic populations was utter and complete. No sooner, therefore, 
had the Duke cleared the Peninsula of doctrinaires and invaders 
than the Lion of Castile shook off tlieir papers from lus mane, 
and reverted like tlie Italian, on whom the same experiment was 
tried, to his own pre-existing divisions, which, liowever defective 
in tlieory, and unsightly and inconvenient on the map, had from 
long habit been found practically to suit better. Recently, in 
spite of this experience among other newfangled transpyrenean 
reforms, innovations, and botherations, the Peninsula has again 
been parcelled out into forty-nine provinces, instead of the former 
national divisions of thirteen kingdoms, principalities, and lord- 
ships ; but long will it be before these deeply impressed divisions, 
which have grown with the growth of the monarchy, and are 
engraved in the retentive memories of the people, can be effaced. 

Those who are curious in statistical details are referred to the 
works of Paez, Antillon, and others, who are considered by 
Spaniards to be authorities on vast subjects, which are fitter for 
a gazetteer or a handbook than for volumes destined like these for 
lighter reading ; and assuredly the pages of the respectable 
Spaniards just named are duller than the high-roads of Castile, 
which no tiny rivulet the cheerful companion of the dusty road 
ever freshens, no stray flower adorns, no song of birds gladdens 
— " dry as the remainder of the biscuit after the voyage." 

The thirteen divisions have grand and historical names : they 
belong to an old and monarchical country, not to a spick and 
span vulgar democracy, without title-deeds. They fill the 
mouth wlien named, and conjure up a thousand recollections of 
the better and more glorious times of Spain's palmy power, when 
there were giants in the land, not pigmies in Parisian paletots, 
whose only ambition is to ape the foreigner, and disgrace and 
denationalize themselves. 

First and foremost Andalucia presents herself, crowned with 
a quadruple, not a triple tiara, for the name los cuatro reinos, 
" the four kingdoms," is her synonym. They consist of those 
of Seville, Cordova, Jaen, and Granada. There is magic and 

32 PROVINCES. [chap. iv. 

birdlime in tlie very letters. Secondly advances the kingdom of 
Murcia, with its silver-mines, barilla, and palms. Then the 
gentle kingdom of Valencia appears, all smiles, with frnits and 
silk. The principality of grim and truculent Catalonia scowls 
next on its fair neighbour. Here rises the smoky factory chimney ; 
here cotton is spun, vice and discontent bred, and revolutions 
concocted. The prond and stiff-necked kingdom of Arragon 
marches to tlie Avest with this Lancashire of Spain, and to the 
east with tlie kingdom of Navarre, which crouches with its green 
valleys under the Pyrenees. The three Basque Provinces 
whicli abut thereto, are only called El Senoino, " The Lord- 
ship," for the king of all the Spains is but simple lord of this 
free higliland home of the unconquered descendants of the abo- 
riginal man of the Peninsula. Here there is much talk of 
bullocks and fueros, or "privileges;" for wiien not digging 
and delving, these gentlemen by the mere fact of being born 
here, are fighting and upholding their good rights by the 
SHord. The empire province of the Castiles furnishes tvvo 
coronets to the royal brow ; to Avit, that of the older portion, 
where the young monarchy was nursed, and that of the 
newer portion, which was wrested afterwards from the infidel 
Moor. The ninth division is desolate E,strennuiura, wliicli has 
no higher title than a province, and is peopled by locusts, wan- 
dering sheep, pigs, and here and there by human bipeds. Leon, 
a most time-honoured kingdon), stretches higher up, with its 
corn-plains and venerable cities, now silent as tombs, but in auld 
lang syne the scenes of mediaival chivalry and romance. The 
kingdom of Gallicia and the principality of the Asturias form 
the seaboard to the west, and constitute Spain's breakwater 
atrainst the Atlantic. 

It is not very easy to ascertain the exact population of any 
country, much less that of one which does not yet possess tlie 
advantages of public registrars ; the people at large, for whom, 
strange to say, the pleasant stiulies of statistics and political 
economy liave small charms, consider any attempt to number 
them as boding no good ; they have a well-grounded apprehen- 
sion of ulterior objects. To " niuuber the people" was a crime 
in the East, and many moral and practical difficulties exist in 
arriving at a true census of Spain. Thus, vviijle some writers on 


statistics hope to flatter the powers that be, by a glowing exag- 
geration of national strength, " to boast of which," says the Duke, 
" is the national weakness," the suspicious many, on the other 
hand, are disposed to conceal and diminish the truth. We should 
be always on our guard when we hear accounts of the past or 
present population, commerce, or revenue of Spain. The better 
classes will magnify them both, for the credit of their country ; 
the poorer, on tlie other hand, will appeal ad misericordiam, by 
representing matters as even worse than they really are. They 
never afford any opening, however indirect, to information which 
may lead to poll-taxes and conscriptions. 

The population and the revenue have generally been exagge- 
rated, and all statements may be much discounted ; the present 
population, at an approximate calculation, may be taken at 
about eleven or twelve millions, with a slow tendency to in- 
crease. This is a low figure for so large a country, and for one 
which, under the Romans, is said to have swarmed with inha- 
bitants as busy and industrious as ants ; indeed, the longest 
period of rest and settled government which this ill-fated land 
has ever enjoyed was during the three centuries that the Roman 
power was undisputed. The Peninsula is then seldom men- 
tioned by authors ; and how much happiness is inferred by that 
silence, when the blood-spattered page of history was chiefly 
employed to register great calamities, plagues, pestilences, wars, 
battles, or the freaks of men, at which angels weep ! Certainly 
one of the causes which have changed this happy state of things, 
has been the numerous and fierce invasions to which Spain has 
been exposed ; fatal to her has been her gift of beauty and 
wealth, which has ever attracted the foreign ravisher and 
spoiler. The Goths, to whom a worse name has been given than 
they deserved in Spain, were ousted by the Moors, the real and 
wholesale destroyers ; bringing to the darkling West the luxu- 
ries, arts and sciences of the bright East, they had nothing to 
learn from the conquered ; to them the Goth was no instructor, 
as the Roman had been to him ; they despised both of their pre- 
decessors, with whose wants and works they had no sympathy, 
while they abhorred their creed as idolatrous and polytheistic — 
down went altar and image. There was no fair town which 


34 DIFFERENT RACES. [chap. iv. 

they did not destroy ; they exterminated, say their annals, the 
fowls of the air. 

The Gotho-Spaniard in process of time retaliated, and com- 
bated the invader with his own weapons, bettering indeed the 
destructive lesson which was taught. Tlie effects of these wars, 
carried on without treaty, without quarter, and waged for 
country and creed, are evident in those parts of Spain which 
were their theatre. Thus, vast portions of Estremadura, the 
south of Toledo and Andalucia, by nature some of the richest 
and most fertile in the world, are now dehesas y despohlados^ de- 
populated wastes, abandoned to the wild bee for his heritage ; the 
country remains as it was left after the discomfiture of the 
Moor. The early chronicles of both Spaniard and INIoslem 
teem with accounts of the annual forays inflicted on each other, 
and to which a frontier-district was always exposed. The object 
of these border guerrilla-wfdiviaxQs was extinction, talar, quemar 
y robar, to desolate, burn, and rob, to cut down fruit-trees, to 
" harry," to " razzia." * The internecine struggle was that of 
rival nations and creeds. It was truly Oriental, and such as 
Ezekie!, who well knew tlie Phoenicians, has described : " Go ye 
after him through the city and smite ; let not your eye have 
pity, neither have ye pity ; slay utterly old and young, both 
maids and little children and women." The religious duty of 
smiting the infidel precluded mercy on both sides alike, for the 
Christian foray and crusade was the exact counterpart of the 
Moslem algara and algihad ; while, from military reasons, 
everything was turned into a desert, in order to create a frontier 
Edom of starvation, a defensive glacis, through which no in- 
vading army could pass and live ; the " beasts of the field alone 
increased." Nature, thus abandoned, resumed her rights, and 
has cast off every trace of former cultivation ; and districts the 
granaries of the Roman and the Moor, now offer the saddest con- 
trasts to that former prosperity and industry. 

To these horrors sucC'Seded the thinning occasioned by causes 
of a bigoted and political nature : the expulsion of the Jews 

* R(i:zia is derived from the Arabic Al gJiazia, a word which expresses 
these raids of a ferocious, barbarous age. It has lieen introduced to European 
dictionaries by the Pelissiers, who thus civilize Algeria. They make a soli- 
tude, and call it peace. 


deprived poor Spain of her bankers, while the final banishment 
of the Moriscoes, the remnant of the Moors, robbed the soil of 
its best and most industrious agriculturists. 

Again, in our time, have the fatal scenes of contending Chris- 
tian and Moor been renewed in the struggle for national inde- 
pendence, waged by Spaniards against the Buonapartist invaders, 
by whom neither age nor sex was spared — neither things sacred 
nor profane ; the land is everywhere scarred with ruins ; a few 
hours' Vandalism sufficed to undo the works of ages of piety, 
wealth, learning and good taste. The French retreat was worse 
than their advance : then, infuriated by disgrace and disaster, 
the Soults and Massenas vented their s])ite on the unarmed vil- 
lagers and their cottages. But let General Foy describe their 
progress : — " Ainsi que la neige precipitee des sommets des Alpes 
dans les vallons, nos armees innombrables detruisaient en quel- 
ques heures, par leur seul passage, les ressources de toute une 
contree ; elles bivouaquaient habituellement, et a cliaque gite 
nos soldats demolissaient les maisons baties depuis un demi-siecle, 
pour construire avee les decombres ces longs villages alignes qui 
souvent ne devaient durer qu'un jour : au defaut du bois des 
forets les arbres fruitiers, les vcgetaux precieux, comme le mu- 
rier, i'olivier, I'oranger, servaient a les rechauffer ; les conscrits 
irrites a la fois par le besoin et par le danger contractaient une 
ivresse morale dont nous ne cherchions pas a les guerir." 

" So France gets drunk with blood to vomit crime, 
And fatal ever have her saturnalia been." 

Who can fail to compare this habitual practice of Buonaparte's 
legions with the terrible description in Hosea of the "great 
people and strong" whoexecute the dread judgments of heaven ? — 
" A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth ; 
the land is tlie garden of Eden before them, and behind them a 
desolate wilderness, yea, and nothing shall escape them." 

No sooner were they beaten out by the Duke, than population 
beg-an to spring up again, as the bruised flowerets do when the 
iron heel of marching liordes has passed on. Then ensued the 
civil fratricide wars, draining the land of its males, from which 
bleeding Spain has not yet recovered. Insecurity of property 
and per.son will ever prove bars to marriage and increased 


36 REVENUE. "chap. iv. 

Again, a deeper and more permanent curse has steadily operated 
for the last two centuries, at which Spanish authors long have not 
dared to hint. They have ascribed tlie depopulation of Estre- 
madura to the swarm of colonist adventurers and emigrants who 
departed from this province of Cortes and Pizarro to seek for 
fortune in the new world of gold and silver ; and have attributed 
tlie similar want of inhabitants in Andalucia to the similar out- 
pouring from Cadiz, which, with Seville, engrossed tlie traffic of 
the Americas. But colonisation never thins a vigorous, well- 
conditioned mother state— witness the rapid and daily increase 
of population in our own island, which, like Tyre of old, is ever 
sending forth her outpouring myriads, and wafts to the utter- 
most parts of the sea, on the white wings of her merchant fleets, 
the blessings of peace, religion, liberty, order, and civilisation, 
to disseminate which is the mission of Great Britain. 

The real permanent and standing cause of Spain's thinly 
peopled state, want of cultivation, and abomination of desolation, 
is Bad Government, civil and religious ; this all who run 
may lead in her lonely land and silent towns. But Spain, if the 
anecdote which her children love to tell be true, will never be 
able to remove the incubus of this fertile origin of every evil. 
AVhen Ferdinand III. captured Seville and died, being a saint 
he escaped purgatory, and Santiago presented him to the Virgin, 
who forthwith desired him to ask any favours for beloved Spain. 
The monarch petitioned for oil, wine, and corn — conceded ; for 
sunny skies, brave men, and pretty women — allowed ; for cigars, 
relics, garlic, and bulls — by all means ; for a good government — 
" Nay, nay," said the Virgin, " that never can be granted ; for were 
it bestowed, not an angel would remain a day longer in heaven." 

The present revenue may be taken at about 12,000,000/. or 
13,000,000/. sterling; but money is compared by Spaniards to 
oil ; a little will stick to the fingers of those who measure it out ; 
and such is the robbing and jobbing, the official mystification 
and peculation, that it is difficult to get at facts whenever cash 
is in question. The revenue, moreover, is badly collected, and 
at a ruinous per centage, and at no time during this last century 
has been sufficient for the national expenses. Eecourse has been 
had to the desperate experiments of usurious loans and wholesale 
confiscations. At one time church pillage and appropriation 

CHAP. iv."j THE BOLSA. 37 

was al nost the only item in the governmental budget. The 
recipients were ready to " prove from Vatel exceedingly well " 
that the first duty of a rich clergy was to relieve the necessitous, 
and the more when the State was a pauper : croziers are no 
match for bayonets. This system necessarily cannot last. 
Since the reign of Philip II. every act of dishonesty lias been 
perpetrated. Public securities have been " repudiated," interest 
unpaid, and principal spunged out. No country in the Old 
World, or even New drab-coated World, stands lower in financial 
discredit. Let all be aware how they embark in Spanish specula- 
tions : however promising in the prospectus, they will, sooner or 
later, turn out to be deceptions ; and whether they assume the 
form of loans, lands, or rails, none are real securities : they are 
mere castles in the air, chateaux en Espagne : " The earth has 
bubbles as the water has, and these are of them." 

For the benefit and information of those who have purchased 
Iberian stock, it may be stated that an Exchange, or Balsa de 
Comercio, was established at Madrid in 1831. It may be called 
the coldest spot in the hot capital, and the idlest, since the usual 
" city article " is short and sweet, " si?i operaciones," or nothing 
has been bought or sold. It might be likened to a tomb, with 
" Here lies Spanish credit " for its epitaph. If there be a thing 
which " La perfide Albion" " a nation of shopkeepers," dislikes, 
worse even than a French assignat, it is a bankrupt. One cir- 
cumstance is clear, that Castilian fundonor, or point of lionour, 
will rather settle its debts with cold iron and warm al)use than 
with gold and thanks. 

The Exchange at Madrid was first held at St. Martin's, a 
saint who divided his cloak with a supplicant. As comjwrisons are 
odious, and bad examples catching, it has been recently removed 
to the Calle del Desengano, the street of " finding out fallacious 
hopes," a locality which the bitten will not deem ill-chosen. 

As all men in power use their official knowledge in taking 
advantage of the turn of the market, the Balsa divides with the 
court and army the moving influence of every situacion or 
crisis of the moment : clever as are the ministers of Paris, they 
are mere tyros when compared to their colleagues of Madrid in 
the arts of working the telegraph, gazette, &c., and thereby 
feathering their own nests. 

38 SPANISH " STOCK." ["chap. it. 

The Stock Exchange is open from ten to three o'clock^ where 
those who like Spanish funds may buy them as cheap as st'^'iKing 
mackerel ; for when the 3 per cents, of perfidious Albion are at 
98, surely Spanish fives at 22 are a tempting investment. The 
stocks are numerous, and suited to all tastes and pockets, whether 
those funded by Aguado, Ardouin, Toreno, Mendizabal, or Mon, 
"• all honourable men," and whose punctuality is un-r emitting^ 
for in some the principal is consolidated, in others the interest 
is deferred ; the grand financial object in all having been to re- 
ceive as much as possible, and pay back in an inverse ratio — 
their leading principle being to bag both principal and interest. 
As we have just said, in measuring out money and oil a little 
will stick to the cleanest fingers — the Madrid ministers and con- 
tractors made fortunes, and actually "did" the Hebrews of Lon- 
don, as their forefathers spoiled the Egyptians. But from 
Philip II. downwards, theologians have never been wanting in 
Spain to prove the religious, however painful, duty of bank- 
ruptcy, and particularly in contracts with usurious heretics. The 
stranger, when shown over the Madrid bank, had better evince 
no impertinent curiosity to see the" Dividend 7?«?/ office," as it 
miglit give offence. Whatever be our dear reader's pursuit in 
the Peninsula, let him — 

" Neither a borrower nor lender be, 
For loan oft losetli both itself and friend." 

Beware of Spanish stock, for in spite of official reports, docn- 
menios, and arithmetical mazes, which, intricate as an arabesque 
pattern, look well on paper without being intelligible ; in spite 
of ingenious conversions, fundings of interest, coupons — some 
active, some passive, and other repudiatory terms and tenses, the 
present excepted — the thiniblerig is always the same ; and this is 
the question, since national credit depends on national good faith 
and surplus income, how can a country pay interest on debts, 
whose revenues have long been, and now are, miserably insuf- 
ficient for the ordinary expenses of government ? You cannot 
get blood from a stone ; ex nihilo nihil Jh. 

Mr. Macgregor's report on Spain, a truthful exposition of 
commercial ignorance, habitual disregard of treaties and viola- 
tion of contracts, describes her public securities, past and pre- 


sent. Certainly they had very imposing names and titles — Juros 
Bonos, Vales reales, Titulos, &c., — much more royal, grand, 
and poetical than our prosaic Consols; but no oaths can attach 
real value to dishonoured and good-for-nothing paper. Accord- 
ing to some financiers, the public debts of Spain, previously to 
1808, amounted to 83,763,966/., which have since been increased 
to 279,083,089/., farthings omitted, for we like to be accurate. 
This possibly may be exaggerated, for the government will give 
no information as to its own peculation and mismanagement : 
according to Mr. Henderson, 78,649,675/. of this debt is due to 
English creditors alone, and we wish tliey may get it, when he gets 
to IMadrid. In the time of James I., Mr. Howell was sent there 
on much such an errand ; and when he left it, his " pile of unre- 
dressed claims was higher than himself." At all events, Spain is 
over head and ears in debt, and irremediably insolvent. And yet 
few countries, if we regard the fertility of her soil, lier golden 
possessions at home and abroad, her frugal temperate population, 
ought to have been less embarrassed ; but Heaven has granted 
her every blessing, except a good and honest government. It 
is either a bully or a craven : satisfaction in twenty -four hours 
a la Bresson, or a line-of-battle ship off Malaga — Cromwell's 
receipt — is the only argument which these semi -Moors under- 
stand : conciliatory language is held to be weakness : you may 
obtain at once from their fears what never will be granted by 
their sense of justice. 



Travelling in Spain — Steamers — Eoads, Roman, Monastic, and Royal — 
Modem Railways — English Speculations. 

Of the many misrepresentations regarding Spain, few are more 
inveterate than tliose which refer to the dangers and difficulties 
that are there supposed to beset the ti-aveller. This, tlie most 
romantic, racy, and peculiar country of Europe, may in reality 
be visited by sea and land, and throughout its length and breadth, 
with ease and safety, as all who have ever been there well know, 
the nonsense with which Cockney critics who never have been 
there scare delicate writers in albums and lady-bird tourists, to 
tlie contrary notwithstanding : the steamers are regular, the 
mails and diligences excellent, the roads decent, and the mules 
sure-footed ; nay, latterly, the posadas, or inns, have been so 
increased, and the robbers so decreased, that some ingenuity 
must be evinced in getting either starved or robbed. Those, 
however, who are dying for new excitements, or who wish to 
make a picture or chapter, in short, to get up an adventure for 
the home-market, may manage by a great exhibition of impru- 
dence, chattering, and a holding out luring baits, to gratify their 
hankering, although it would save some time, trouble, and ex- 
pense to try the experiment much nearer home. 

As our readers live in an island, we will commence with the 
sea and steamers. 

Tlie Peninsular and Oriental Navigation Company depart re- 
gularly three times a month from Southampton for Gibraltar. 
They often arrive at Corunna in seventy hours, from whence a 
mail starts directly to Madrid, which it reaches in three days and 
a half. Tlie vessels are excellent sea-boats, are manned by 
English sailors, and propelled by English machinery. The pas- 
sage to Vigo has been made in less than three days, and the 
voyage to Cadiz — touching at Lisbon included — seldom exceeds 


six. The change of climate, scenery, men, and manners effected 
by this week's trip, is indeed remarkable. Quitting the British 
Channel we soon enter the " sleepless Bay of Biscay," where the 
stormy petrel is at home, and where the gigantic swell of the 
Atlantic is first checked by Spain's iron-bound coast, the moun- 
tain break-water of Europe. Here TJie Ocean will be seen in 
all its vast majesty and solitude: grand in the tempest-lashed 
storm, grand in the calm, when spread out as a mirror ; and never 
more impressive than at night, when the stars of heaven, free 
from earth-born mists, sparkle like diamonds over those " who 
go down to the sea in ships, and behold the works of tlie Lord, 
and his wonders in the deep." The land has disappeared, and 
man feels alike his weakness and his strength ; a thin plank se- 
parates him from another world ; yet he has laid his hand upon 
the billow, and mastered the ocean ; he has made it the highway 
of commerce, and the binding link of nations. 

The steamers which navigate the Eastern coast from Marseilles 
to Cadiz and back again, are cheaper indeed in their fares, but by 
no means such good sea-boats ; nor do they keep their time — the 
essence of business — with English regularity. They are foreign 
built, and worked by Spaniards and Frenchmen. They gene- 
rally stop a day at Barcelona, Valencia, and other large towns, 
which gives them an opportunity to replenish coal, and to 
smuggle. A rapid traveller is also thus enabled to pay a flying 
visit to the cities on the seaboard ; and thus those lively authors 
who comprehend foreign nations with an intuitive eagle-eyed 
glance, obtain materials for sundry octavos on the history, arts, 
sciences, literature, and genius of Spaniards. But as Mons. Feval 
remarks of some of his gifted countrymen, they have merely 
to scratch their head, according to the Horatian expression, and 
out come a number of volumes, ready bound in calf, as Minerva 
issued forth armed from the temple of Jupiter. 

The Mediterranean is a dangerous, deceitful sea, fair and false 
as Italia ; the squalls are sudden and terrific ; then the crews 
either curse the sacred name of God, or invoke St. Telmo, ac- 
cording as their notion may be. We have often been so caught 
when sailing on these perfidious waters in these foreign craft, 
and think, with the Spaniards, that escape is a miracle. The 
hilarity excited by witnessing the jabber, coi'fusion, and lubber 

42 SPANISH ROADS. [chap. v. 

proceedings, went far to dispel all present apprehension, and 
future also. Some of our poor blue-jackets in case of a war may 
possibly escape the fate with which they are threatened in this 
French lake. But no wise man will ever go by sea when he 
can travel by land, nor is viewing Spain's coasts with a telescope 
from the deck, and passing a few hours in a sea-port, a very satis- 
factory mode of becoming acquainted with the country. 

The roads of Spain, a matter of much importance to a judi- 
cious traveller, are somewhat a modern luxury, having been only 
regularly introduced by the Bourbons. The Moors and Spa- 
niards, who rode on horses and not in carriages, suffered those 
magnificent lines with which the Romans had covered the Penin- 
sula to go to decay ; of these there were no less than twenty- 
nine of the first order, which were absolutely necessary to a 
nation of conquerors and colonists to keep up their military and 
commercial communications. The grandest of all, which like 
the Appian might be termed the Queen of Roads, ran from 
Merida, the capital of Lusitania, to Salamanca. It was laid 
down like a Cyclopean wall, and much of it remains to this day, 
with the grey granite line stretching across the aromatic wastes, 
like the vertebroe of an extinct mammoth. We have followed for 
miles its course, which is indicated by the still standing miliary 
columns that rise above the cistus underwood ; here and there 
tall forest trees grow out of the stone pavement, and show how 
long it has been abandoned by man to Nature ever young and 
gay, who thus by uprooting and displacing the huge blocks 
slowly recovers her rights. She festoons the ruins with necklaces 
of flowers and creepers, and hides the rents and wrinkles of odious, 
all-dilapidating Time, or man's worse neglect, as a pretty maid 
decorates a shrivelled dowager's with diamonds. The Spanish 
muleteer creeps along by its side in a track which he has made 
through the sand or pebbles ; he seems ashamed to trample on 
this lordly way, for which, in his petty wants, he has no occasion. 
Most of the similar roads have been taken up by monks to raise 
convents, by burgesses to build houses, by military men to con- 
struct fortifications — thus even their ruins have perished. 

The mediaeval Spanish roads were the works of the clergy ; 
and the long-bearded monks, here as elsewhere, were the pioneers 
of civilization ; they made straight, wide, and easy the way which 


led to their convent, their high place, their miracle shrine, or to 
whatever point of pilgrimage that was held out to the devout ; 
traffic was soon combined with devotion, and the service of mam- 
mon with that of God. This imitation of the Oriental practice 
which obtained at Mecca, is evidenced by language in which the 
Spanish term Feria signifies at once a religious function, a holi- 
day, and a fair. Even saints condescended to become waywar- 
dens, and to take title from the highway. Thus Santo Domingo 
de la Calzada, " St. Domenick of the Paved Road" was so 
called from his having been the first to make one through a part 
of Old Castile for the benefit of pilgrims on their way to Com- 
postella, and this town yet bears the honoured appellation. 

This feat and his legend have furnished Southey with a subject 
of a droll ballad. The saint having finished his road, next set up 
an inn or Venta, the Mari tomes of which fell in love with a 
handsome pilgrim, who resisted ; whereupon she hid some spoons 
in this Joseph's saddlebags, who was taken up by the Alcalde, 
and forlhwith hanged. But his parents some time afterwards 
passed under the body, which told them that lie was innocent, 
alive, and well, and all by the intercession of the sainted road- 
maker ; thereupon they proceeded forthwith to the truculent 
Alcalde, who was going to dine oflp two roasted fowls, and, on 
hearing their report, remarked, You might as well tell me that 
this cock (pointing to his roti) would crow ; whereupon it did 
crow, and was taken with its hen to the cathedral, and two 
chicks have ever since been regularly hatched every year from 
these respectable parents, of which a travelling ornithologist 
should secure one for the Zoological Garden. The cock ano 
hen were duly kept near the high altar, and their white feathers 
were worn by pilgrims in their caps. Prudent bagsmen will 
however, put a couple of ordinary roast fowls into their " pro- 
vend," for hungry is this said road to Logrono. 

In this land of miracles, anomalies, and contradictions, the 
roads to and from this very Compostella cire now detestable. In 
other provinces of Spain, the star-paved milky way in heaven is 
called El Camino de Santiago, the road of St. James ; but the 
Gallicians, who know what their roads really are, namely, the 
worst on earth, call the milky-way El Camino de Jerusalem, 
" the road to Jerusalem," which it assuredly is not. The an- 

44 ROAD TO TOLEDO. [chap. v. 

cients poetically attributed this phenomenon to some spilt milk 
of Juno. 

JMeanwhile the roads in Gallicia, although under the patronage 
of Santiago, who has replaced the Roman Hermes, are, like 
his milky-way in heaven, but little indebted to mortal repairs. 
The Dean of Santiago is waywarden by virtue of his office or 
dignity, and especially " protector," The chapter, however, 
now chiefly profess to make smootli the road to a better world. 
They have altogether degenerated from their forefathers, whose 
grand object was to construct roads for the pilgrim ; but since 
the cessation of offering-making Hadjis, little or nothing has 
been done in the turnpike-trust line. 

Some of the finest roads in Spain lead either to the sitios or 
royal pleasure-seats of the king, or wind gently up some elevated 
and monastery-crowned mountain like Monserrat. The ease of 
the despot was consulted, while that of his subjects was neglected ; 
and the Sultan was tlie State, Spain was his property, and Spa- 
niards his serfs, and willing ones, for as in the East, their perfect 
equality amongst each other was one result of the immeasurable 
superiority of the master of all. Thus, while he rolled over a 
road hard and level as a bowling-green, and rapidly as a galloping 
team could proceed, to a mere summer residence, the commu- 
nication between Madrid and Toledo, that city on which the sun 
shone on the day light was made, has remained a mere track 
ankle-deep in mud during winter and dust-clouded during sum- 
mer, and changing its direction with the caprice of wandering 
sheep and mideteers ; but Bourbon Royalty never visited this 
widowed capital of the Goths. The road therefore was left as it 
existed if not before tlie time of Adam, at least before Mac 
Adam. There is some talk just now of beginning a regular road ; 
when it will be finished is another affair. 

The church, which shared with the state in dominion, followed 
the royal example in consulting its own comforts as to roads. 
Nor could it be expected in a torrid land, that holy men, whose 
abdomens occasionally were prominent and pendulous, should 
lard the stony or sandy earth like goats, or ascend heaven-kiss- 
ing hills so expeditiously as their prayers. In Spain the primary 
consideration has ever been the souls, not the bodies, of men, or 
legs of beasts. It would seem indeed, from the indifference 


shown to the sufferings of these quadrupedal blood -engines, 
3Iaqumas de sangre, as they are called, and still more from the 
reckless waste of biped life, that a man was of no value until he 
was dead ; then what admirable contrivances for the rapid tra- 
velling of his winged spirit, first to purgatory, next out again, 
and thence from stage to stage to his journey's end and blessed 
rest ! More money has been thus expended in masses tlian would 
have covered Spain with railroads, even on a British scale of 
magnificence and extravagance. 

To descend to the roads of the peninsular earth, the principal 
lines are nobly planned. These geographical arteries, which 
form the circulation of the country, branch in every direction 
from Madrid, which is the centre of the system. The road- 
making spirit of Louis XIV. passed into his Spanish descendants, 
and durins: the reiarns of Charles III. and Charles IV. commu- 
nications were completed between the capital and the principal 
cities of the provinces. These causeways, "^rrff//e* "■ — these 
royal roads, " Caminos reales" — were planned on an almost 
unnecessary scale of grandeur, in regard both to width, parapets, 
and general execution. The high road to La Coruiia, especially 
after entering Leon, will stand comparison with any in Europe ; 
but when Spaniards finish anything it is done in a grand style, 
and in this instance the expense was so enormous that the king 
inquired if it was paved with silver, alluding to the common 
Spanish corruption of the old Roman via lata into " camino de 
plain,'' of plate. This and many of the others were constructed 
from fifty to seventy years ago, and very much on the M'Adam 
system, which, having been since introduced into England, has 
rendered our roads so very different from wliat they were not very 
long since. The war in the Peninsula tended to deteriorate the 
Spanish roads — when bridges and other conveniences were fre- 
quently destroyed for military reasons, and tlie exhausted state of 
the finances of Spain, and troubled times, have delayed many of the 
more costly reparations ; yet tliose of the first class were so admir- 
ably constructed at the beginning, that, in spite of the injuries of 
war, ruts, and neglect, they may, as a whole, be pronounced equal 
to many of the Continent, and are infinitely more pleasant to the 
traveller from the absence of pavement. The roads in England 
have, indeed, latterly been rendered so excellent, and we are so 

46 CROSS ROADS. [chap. v. 

apt to compare those of other nations with them, that we forget 
that fifty years ago Spain was in advance in that and many other 
respects. Spain remains very mucli what other countries were : 
she has stood on her old ways, moored to the anchor of prejudice, 
while we have progressed, and consequently now appears behind- 
hand in many things in which she set the fashion to England. 

The grand royal roads start from Madrid, and run to the prin- 
cipal frontier and sea-port towns. Thus the capital may be 
compared to a spider, as it is the centre of the Peninsular web. 
These diverging fan- like lines are sufficiently convenient to all 
who are about to journey to any single terminus, but inter-commu- 
nications are almost entirely wanting between any one terminus 
with another. This scanty condition of the Peninsular roads 
accounts for the very limited portions of the country which are 
usually visited by foreigners, who — the French especially — keep 
to one beaten track, the high road, and follow each other like 
wild geese ; a visit to Burgos, Madrid, and Seville, and tlien a 
steam trip from Cadiz to Valencia and Barcelona, is considered 
to be making the grand tour of Spain ; thus the world is favoured 
with volumes that reflect and repeat each other, which tell us 
what we know already, while the rich and rare, the untrodden, 
unchanged, and truly Moro-Hispanic portions are altogether 
neglected, except by the exceptional few, who venture forth 
like Don Quixote on their horses, in search of adventures and 
the picturesque. 

The other roads of Spain are bad, but not much more so than 
in other parts of the Continent, and serve tolerably well in dry 
weather. Tiiey are divided into those which are practicable for 
wheel-carriages, and those which are only bridle-roads, or as 
they call them, " of horseshoe," on which all thought of going 
with a carriage is out of the question ; when these horse or mule 
tracks are very bad, especially among the mountains, they com- 
pare them to roads for partridges. The cross roads are seldom 
tolerable ; it is safest to keep the high-road — or, as we have it 
in English, the furthest way round is the nearest way home — for 
there is no short cut without hard work, says the Spanish proverb, 
" ho hay atajo, sin trahajo." 

All this sounds very unpromising, but those who adopt the 
customs of the country will never find much practical difficulty in 


getting to their journey's end ; slowly, it is true, for where leagues 
and hours are convertible terms — the Spanish Jiora being the 
heavy German stunde — the distance is regulated by the day-light. 
Bridle-roads and travelling on horseback, the former systems 
of Europe, are very Spanish and Oriental ; and where people 
journey on horse and mule back, tlie road is of minor import- 
ance. In the remoter provinces of Spain the population is agri- 
cultural and poverty-stricken, unvisiting and unvisited, nor going 
much beyond their chimney's smoke. Each family provides for 
its simple habits and few wants ; having but little money to buy 
foreign connuodities, they are clad and fed, like the Bedouins, 
with the productions of their own fields and flocks. There is 
little circulation of persons ; a neighbouring fair is the mart 
where they obtain the annual supply of whatever luxury they can 
indulge in, or it is brought to their cottages by wandering nmle- 
teers, or by the smuggler, who is the type and channel of the 
really active principle of trade in three-fourths of the Penin- 
sula. It is wonderful how soon a well-mounted traveller be- 
comes attached to travelling on horseback, and how quickly he 
becomes reconciled to a state of roads which, startling at first 
to those accustomed to carriage highways, are found to answer 
perfectly for all the purposes of the place and people where they 
are found. 

Let us say a few things on Spanish railroads, for the mania of 
England has surmounted the Pyrenees, although confined rather 
more to words than deeds ; in fivct, it has been said that no rail 
exists, in any country of either the new world or the old one, in 
which the Spanish language is spoken, probably from other ob- 
jections than those merely philologiQal. Again, in other coun- 
tries roads, canals, and traffic usher in the rail, whicli in Spain 
is to precede and introduce them. Thus, by the prudent delays 
of national caution and procrastination, much of the trouble and 
expense of these intermediate stages will be economized, and Spain 
will jump at once from a mediaeval condition into the com- 
forts and glories of Great Britain, ihe land of restless travellers. 
Be that as it may, just now there is much talk of railroads, and 
splendid official and other documentos are issued, by which the 
" whole country is to be intersected (on paper) with a net-work 
of rapid and bowling-green communications," v\hich are to 


create a " perfect homogeneity among Spaniards ;"' for great as 
have been the labours of Herculean steam, this amalgamation 
of the Iberian rope of sand has properly been reserved for the 
crowning performance. 

It would occupy too much space to specify the infinite lines 
which are in contemplation, which may be described when com- 
pleted. Suffice it to say, that they almost all are to be effected 
by the iron and gold of England. However this estrangerismo, 
this influence of the foreigner, may offend the sensitive pride, 
the EspaTiolismo of Spain, the power of resistance offered by the 
national indolence and dislike to change, must be propelled 
by British steam, with a dash of French revolution. Yet our 
speculators might, perhaps, reflect that Spain is a land which 
never yet has been able to construct or support even a sufficient 
number of common roads or canals for her poor and passive 
commerce and circulation. The distances are far too great, and 
the traffic far too small, to call yet for tlie rail ; while the geolo- 
gical formation of the country offers difficulties which, if met 
with even in England, would baffle tlie colossal science and 
extravagance of our first-rate engineers. Spain is a land of 
mountains, which rise everywhere in Alpine barriers, walling off 
province from province, and district from district. These 
mighty cloud-capped sierras are solid masses of hard stone, and 
any tunnels which ever perforate their ranges will reduce that 
at Box to the delving of the poor mole. You might as well 
cover Switzerland and the Tyrol with a net-work of level lines, 
as those caught in the aforesaid net will soon discover to their ^ 
cost. The outlay of this up-hill work may be in an inverse ratio 
to the remuneration, for the one will be enormous, and the other 
paltry. The parturient mountains may produce a most musipular 
interest, and even that may be " deferred." 

Spain, again, is a land of dehesas y despohlados : in these wild 
unpeopled wastes, next to travellers, commerce and cash are 
what is scarce, while even Madrid, the capital, is without in- 
dustry or resources, and poorer than many of our provincial 
cities. The Spaniard, a creature of routine and foe to innova- 
tions, is not a moveable or locomotive ; local, and a parochial 
fixture by nature, he hates moving like a Turk, and has a par- 
ticular horror of being hurried ; long, therefore, here has an 


ambling mule answered all the purposes of transporting- man and 
his goods. Who again is to do the work even if England will 
pay the wages? The native, next to disliking regular sustained 
labour himself, abhors seeing the foreigner toiling even in his 
service, and wasting his gold and sinews in the thankless task. 
The villagers, as they always have done, will rise against the 
stranger and heretic who comes to " suck the wealtli of Spain." 
Supposing, however, by the aid of Santiago and Brunei, that the 
work were possible and were completed, how is it to be secured 
against the fierce action of the sun, and the fiercer violence of 
popular ignoi'ance ? The first cholera that visits Spain will be 
set down as a passenger per rail by the dispossessed muleteer, 
who now performs the functions of steam and rail. He consti- 
tutes one of the most luunerous and finest classes in Spain, and 
is the legitimate channel of the semi-Oriental caravan system. 
He will never permit the bread to be taken out of his mouth by 
this Lutheran locomotive: deprived of means of earning his 
livelihood, he, like the smuggler, will take to the road in another 
line, and both will become either robbers or patriots. Many, 
long, and lonely are the leagues which separate town from town 
in the wide deserts of thinly-peopled Spain, nor will any pre- 
ventive service be sufficient to guard the rail against the guer- 
rilla warfare that may then be waged. A handful of opponents 
in any cistus-overgrown Maste, may at any time, in five minutes, 
break up the road, stop the train, stick the stoker, and burn the 
engines in their own fire, particularly smashing the luggage- 
train. What, again, has ever been the recompense which the 
foreigner has met with from Spain but breach of promise and 
ingratitude? He will be used, as in the East, until the native 
thinks that he has mastered his arts, and then he will be abused, 
cast out, and trodden under foot ; and who then will keep up 
and repair the costly artificial undertaking? — certainly not the 
Spaniard, on whose pericranium the bumps of operative skill and 
mechanical construction have yet to be developed. 

The lines which are the least sure of failure will be those 
which are the sliortest, and pass through a level countiy of some 
natural productions, such as oil, wine, and coal. Certainly, if 
the rail can be laid down in Spain by the gold and science of 
England, the gift, like that of steam, will be worthy of the 



Ocean's Queen, and of the world's real leader of civilization ; and 
what a change will then come over the spirit of the Peninsula ! 
how the siestas of torpid man-vegetation, will be disturbed by 
the shrill whistle and panting snort of the monster engine ! how 
the seals of this long hermetically shut-up land will be broken ! 
how the cloistered obscure, and dreams of treasures in heaven, 
will be enlightened by the flashing fire-demon of the wide-awake 
money- worshipper ! what owls will be vexed, wliat bats dispos- 
sessed, what drones, mules, and asses will be scared, run over, 
and annihilated ! Those who love Spain, and pray, like the 
author, daily for her prosperity, must indeed hope to see this 
"net-work of rails" concluded, l)ut will take especial care at 
the same time not to invest one farthing in the imposing specu- 

Recent results have fully justified daring this year what was 
prophesied last year in the Hand-Book : our English agents and 
engineers were received with almost divine honours by the 
Spaniards, so incensed were they with flattery and cigars. Their 
shares were instantaneously subscribed for, and directors nomi- 
nated, with names and titles longer even than the lines, and the 
smallest contributions in cash were thankfully accepted : — 

" L'argent dans une bourse entre agreablement ; 
Mais le terme venu, quaud il faut le rendre, 
C'est alors que les douleurs commencent a nous prendre." 

When the period for booking up, for making the first instalments, 
arrived, the Spanish shareholders were found somewhat wanting : 
they repudiated ; for in the Peninsula it has long been easier to 
promise than to pay. Again, on the only line which seems 
likely to be carried out at present, that of Madrid to Aranjuez, 
the first step taken by them was to dismiss all English engineers 
and navvies, on the plea of encouraging native talent and in- 
dustry rather than the foreigner. Many of the English home 
proceedings would border on the ridiculous, were not the laugh 
of some speculators rather on the wrong side. Tlie City 
capitalists certainly have our pity, and if their plethora of 
wealth required the relief of bleeding, it could not be better 
performed than by a Spanish Sangrado. How different some of 
the windings-up, the final reports, to the magnificent beginnings 
and grandiloquent prospectuses put forth as baits for John Bull, 


wlio hoped to be tossed at once, or elevated, from haberdashery to 
a throne, by being offered a "potentiality of getting rich beyond 
the dreams of avarice !" TIius, to clench assertion by example, 
the London directors of the Royal Valencia Company made 
known by an advertisement only last Jidy, tliat they merely re- 
quired 240,000,000 reals to connect the seaport of Valencia — 
where there is none — to the capital Madrid, with 800,000 inha- 
bitants, — there not being 200,000. One brief passage alone 
seemed ominous in the lucid array of prospective profit — " The 
line has not yet been minutely surveyed ;" this might have 
suggested to the noble Marquis whose attractive name heads the 
provisional committee list, the difficulty of Sterne's traveller, of 
whom, when observing how much better things were managed 
on the Continent than in England, the question was asked, 
" Have you, sir, ever been there ? " 

A still wilder scheme was broached, to connect Aviles on the 
Atlantic with Madrid, the Asturian Alps and the Guadarrama 
mountains to the contrary notwithstanding. The originator of 
this ingenious idea was to receive 40,000/, for the cession of his 
plan to the company, and actually did receive 25,000/., which, 
considering the difficulties, natural and otherwise, must be con- 
sidered an inadequate remuneration. Although the original and 
captivating prospectus stated " that the line laid been surveyed, 
and presented no engineering difficulties" it was subsequently 
thought prudent to obtain some notion of the actual localities, 
and Sir Joshua Walmsley was sent forth with competent assist- 
ance to spy out the land, which the Jewish practice of old was 
rather to do before than after serious undertakings. A sad 
change soon came over the spirit of the London dream by the 
discovery that a country which looked level as Arrowsmith's 
map in the prospectus, presented such trifiing obstacles to the 
rail as sundry leagues of mountain ridges, which range from 
6000 to 9000 feet high, and are covered with snow for many 
months of the year. This was a damper. The report of the 
special meeting (see 'Morning Chronicle,' Dec. 18, 1845) 
sliouhl be printed in letters of gold, from the quantity of that 
article wiiieh it will preserve to our credulous countrymen. 
Then and there the chairman observed, with equal naivete 
and pathos, " that had he known as much before as he did 



now, he would have been the last man to carry out a railway 
in Spain." This experience cost him, he observed, 5000/., 
which is paying dear for a Spanish rail whistle. He might for 
five pounds have bought the works of Townshend and Captain 
Cook: our modesty prevents the naming another red book, in 
which these precise localities, these mighty Alps, are described 
by persons who had ridden, or rather soared, over them. At 
another meeting of another Spanish rail company, held at the 
London Tavern, October 20, 1846, another chairman announced 
" a fact of which he was not before aware, that it was impossible 
to surmount the Pyrenees." Meanwhile, the Madrid govern- 
ment had secured 30,000/. from them by way of caution money ; 
but caution disappears from our capitalists, whenever excess of 
cash mounts from their pockets into their heads ; loss of com- 
mon sense and dollars is the natural result. But it is the fate of 
Spain and her things, to be judged of by those who have never 
been there, and wiio feel no sliame at the indecency cf the 
nakedness of their geographical ignorance. "When the blind lead 
the blind, beware of hillocks and ditches. 



Post-OfEce in Spain — Travelling with post-horses — Riding post — IMaiis and 
Diligences, Galeras, Coches de Colleras, Drivers, and Manner of Driving, 
and Oaths. 

A SYSTEM of post, both for the despatch of letters and the con- 
veyance of couriers, was introduced into Spain under Philip and 
Juana, that is, towards the end of the reign of our Henry VII. ; 
whereas it was scarcely organised in England before the govern- 
ment of Cromv.ell. Spain, which in these matters, as well as in 
many others, was once so much in advance, is now compelled to 
borrow her improvements from tliose nations of wliich she for- 
merly was the instructress : among these may be reckoned all 
travelling in carriages, whether public or private. 

The post-office for letters is arranged on the plan common to 
most countries on the Continent : the delivery is pretty regular, 
but seldom daily— twice or three times a- week. Small scruple is 
made by the authorities in opening private letters, whenever they 
suspect the character of the correspondence. It is as well, there- 
fore, for the traveller to avoid expressing tlie whole of his opi- 
nions of the powers that be. The minds of men have been long 
troubled in Spain ; civil war has rendered them very distrustful 
and guarded in tlieir written correspondence — " carta canta" 
" a letter speaks." 

There is the usual continental bother in obtaining post-horses, 
which results from their being a monopoly of government. 
There must be a passport, an official order, notice of departure, 
&c. ; next ensue vexatious regulations in regard to the number 
of passengers, horses, luggage, style of carriage, and so forth. 
These, and other spokes put into the wheel, appear to have been 
invented by clerks who sit at home devising how to impede 
rather than facilitate posting at all. 

Post-horses and mujes are paid at the rate of seven reals each 

54 PUBLIC CONVEYANCES. [chap. vi. 

for each post. The Spanisli postilions generally, and espe- 
cially if well paid, drive at a tremendous pace, often amount- 
ing to a gallop ; nor are they easily stopped, even if the 
traveller desires it — they seem only to be intent on arriving at 
their stages' end, in order to indulge in the great national joy of 
then doing nothing : to get there, they heed neither ruts nor 
ravines ; and when once their cattle are started the inside pas- 
senger feels like a kettle tied to the tail of a mad dog, or a 
comet; the wild beasts think no more of him tlian if he were 
Mazeppa : thus money makes the mare and its driver to go, as 
surely in Spain as in all other countries. 

Another mode of travelling is by riding post, accompanied by 
a mounted postilion, who is changed with the cattle at each relay. 
It is an expeditious but fatiguing plan ; yet one which, like the 
Tartar courier of the East, has long prevailed in Spain. Thus 
our Charles I. rode to Madrid under the name of John Smith, by 
v.'hich he was not likely to be identified. The delight of Philip II., 
who boasted that he governed the world from the Escorial, was 
ti. receive frequent and early intelligence ; and this desire to 
hear something new is still characteristic of the Spanish govern- 
ment. The cabinet-couriers have the preference of horses at 
every relay. The particular distances tliey have to perform are 
all timed, and so many leagues are required to be done in a fixed 
time ; and, in order to encourage despatch, for every hour gained 
on the allowed time, an additional sum was paid to them : hence 
the common expression " ganando horas" gaining hours — equi- 
valent to our old " post haste — haste for your life." 

The usual mode of travelling for the affluent is in the public 
conveyances, which are the fashion from being novelties and only 
introduced under Ferdinand VII. ; previously lo their being 
allowed at all, serious objections were started, similar to those 
laised by his late Holiness to the introduction of railways into 
the papal states ; it was said that these tramontane facilities 
would bring in foreigners, and with them philosophy, heresy, 
and innovations, by which the wisdom of Spain's ancestors might 
be vipset. These scruples were ingeniously got over by bribing 
the monarch with a large share of the profits. Now that the 
royal monopoly is broken down, many new and competing com- 
panies have sprung up ; tliis mode of travelling is the cheapest 


and safest, nor is it thought at all beneath the dignity of " the best 
set," nay roj-alty itself goes by the coach. Thus the Infante Don 
Francisco de Paula constantly hires the whole of tlie diligence 
to convey himself and his family from Madrid to the sea-coast ; 
and one reason gravely given for Don Enrique's not coming to 
marry the Queen, was that his Royal Highness could not get a 
place, as the dilly was booked full. The public carriages of 
Spain are quite as good as those of France, and the company 
who travel in them generally more respectable and better bred. 
This is partly accounted for by the expense : the fares are not 
very high, yet still form a serious item to the bulk of Spaniards ; 
consequently those who travel in the public carriages in Spain are 
tlie class who would in other countries travel per post. It must, 
however, be admitted that all travelling in the public convey- 
ances of the Continent necessarily implies great discomfort to 
those accustomed to their own carriages; and with every possible 
precaution the long journeys in Spain, of three to five hundred 
miles at a stretch, are such as few English ladies can undergo, 
and are, even with men, undertakings rather of necessity than 
of pleasure. The mail is organized on the plan of the French 
malle-poste, and offers, to those who can stand the bumping, shak- 
ing, and churning of continued and rapid travelling without halt- 
ing, a means of locomotion which leaves nothing to be desired. 
The diligences also are imitations of the lumbering French 
model. It will be in vain to expect in them the neatness, the 
well-appointed turn-out, the quiet, time-keeping, and infinite 
facilities of the English original. These matters when passed 
across the water are modified to the heroic Continental contempt 
for doing things in style ; cheapness, which is their great prin- 
ciple, prefers rope-traces to tliose of leather, and a carter to a 
regular coacinrian ; the usual foreign drags also exist, which 
render their slow coaches and bureaucratic absurdities so hateful 
to free Britons ; but when one is once booked and handed over 
to the conductor, you arrive in due time at tlie journey's end. 
The " guards" are realities ; they consist of stout, armed, most 
picturesque, robber-like men and no mistake, since many, before 
they were pardoned and pensioned, have frequently taken a purse 
on the Queen's highway ; for the foreground of your first sketch, 
they are splendid fellows, and worth a score of marshals. They 

5G EXPENSES ON THE EOAD. [chap. vr. 

are provided with a complete arsenal of swords and blunder- 
busses, so that the cumbrous macliine rolling- over the sea of 
plains looks like a man-of-war, and has been compared to a 
marching citadel. Again in suspicious localities a mounted escort 
of equally suspicious look gallops alongside, nor is the primitive 
practice of black mail altogether neglected : the consequence of 
these admirable precautions is, that the diligences are seldom or 
never robbed ; the tiling, however, is possible. 

The whole of this garrisoned Noali's ark is placed under the 
command of the Mayoral or conductor, who like all Spanish 
men in authority is a despot, and yet, like them, is open to the 
conciliatory influences of a bribe. He regulates the hours of 
toil and sleep, which latter — blessings, says Sancho, on the man 
who invented it !^ — is uncertain, and depends on the early or late 
arrival of the diligence and the state of the roads, for all that is 
lost of the fixed time on the road is made up for "by curtailing 
the time allowed for repose. One of the many good effects of 
setting up diligences is the bettering the inns on the road ; and it 
is a safe and general rule to travellers in Spain, whatever be 
tlieir vehicle, always to inquire in every town which is the posada 
that tlie diligence stops at. Persons were dispatched from Madrid 
to the different stations on the great lines, to fit up houses, 
bed-rooms, and kitchens, and provide everything for table 
service ; cooks were sent round to teach the innkeepers to set 
out and prepare a proper dinner and supper. Thus, in villages 
in which a few years before the use of a fork was scarcely known, 
a table was laid out, clean, well served, and abundant. The 
example set by the diligence inns has produced a beneficial effect, 
since they offer a model, create competition, and suggest the 
existence of many comforts, which were hitherto unknown among 
Spaniards, whose abnegation of material enjoyments at home, 
and praiseworthy en(kuance of privations of all kinds on jour- 
neys, are quite Oriental. 

In some of the new companies every expense is calculated in 
the fare, to wit, journey, postilions, inns, &c., which is very 
convenient to tlie stranger, and prevents the loss of much money 
and temper. A chapter on the dilly is as much a standing dish 
in every Peninsular tour as a bullfiglit or a bandit adventure, 
for which there is a continual demand in the home-market ; and 



no doubt in the long distances of Spain, where men and women 
are boxed up for three or four mortal days together (the nights 
not being omitted), the plot thickens, and opportunity is afforded 
to appreciate costume and character ; the farce or tragedy may 
be spun out into as many acts as the journey takes days. In 
general the order of the course is as follows : the breakfast con- 
sists at early dawn of a cup of good stiff chocolate, which being 
the favourite drink of the clmrch and allowable even on fast 
days, is as nutritious as delicious. It is accompanied by a bit 
of roasted or fried bread, and is followed by a glass of cold 
water, to drink which is an axiom with all v.ise men who respect 
the eflicient condition of their livers. After rumbling on, over a 
given number of leagues, when the passengers get Avell shaken 
together and hungry, a regular knife and fork breakfast is pro- 
vided that closely resembles the dinner or supper Avhicli is served 
up later in the evening ; the table is plentiful, and the cookery 
to those who like oil and garlic excellent. Those who do not, 
can always fall back on the biead and eggs, which are capital ; 
the wine is occasionally like purple blacking, and sometimes serves 
also as vinegar for the salad, as tlie oil is said to be used indif- 
ferently for lamps or stews ; a bad dinner, especially if the bill 
be long, and the wine souiy does not sweeten the passengers' 
tempers ; they become quarrelsome, and if they have the good 
luck, a little robber skirmish gives vent to ill-humour. 

At nightfall after supper, a few hours are allowed on your 
part to steal whatever rest the mayoral and certain voltigeurs, 
creeping and winged, will permit ; tiie beds are plain and clean ; 
sometimes the mattresses may be compared to sacks of walnuts, 
but there is no pillow so soft as fatigue ; the beds are generally 
arranged in tv/os, threes, and fours, according to the size of the 
room. The traveller should immediately on arriving secure his, 
and see that it is comfortable, for tliose who neglect to get a 
good one must sleep in a bad. Generally speaking, by a little 
management, he may get a room to himself, or at least select his 
companions. There is, moreover, a real civility and politeness 
shown by all classes of Spaniards, on all occasions, towards 
strangers and ladies ; and that even failing, a small tip, " una 
gratificacioncita" given beforehand to the maid, or the waiter, 
seldom fails to smooth all difficulties. On these, as on all occa 

58 THE GALERA. [chap. vi. 

sions in Spain, most tliing-s may be obtained by good liumour, a 
smile, a joke, a proverb, a cigar, or a bribe, which, tliougli last, 
is by no means the least resource, since it will be found to mollify 
the hardest heart and smootli the greatest difficulties, after civil 
speeches had been tried in vain, for Dadivas quebrantan peTias, 
y entra sin harrenas, gifts break rocks, and penetrate without 
gimlets ; again, Mas ahlanda dinero que palabras de Caballero, 
cash softens more than a gentleman's palaver. The mode of 
driving in Spain, which is so unlike our way of handling the 
ribbons, will be described presently. 

Means of convevance for those who cannot afford the diliorence 
are provided by vehicles of more genuine Spanish nature and 
discomfort ; they may be compared to the neat accommodation 
for man and beast which is doled out to third-class passengers 
by our monopolist railway kings, v/ho have usurped her Majesty's 
highway, and fleece her lieges by virtue of act of Parlia- 

First and foremost comes the galera, which fully justifies its 
name ; and even those who have no value for their time or 
bones will, after a short trial of the rack and dislocation, ex- 
claim, — ^'' que diable allais-je faire dans cette galeref These 
machines travel periodically from town to town, and form the 
chief public and carrier communication between most provincial 
cities ; they are not much changed from that classical cart, the 
rheda, into which, as we read in Juvenal, the whole family of 
Fabricius was conveyed. In Spain these primitive locomotives 
have stood still in the general advance of this age of progress, 
and carry us back to our James I,, and Fynes Moryson's 
accounts of " carryers who have long covered waggons, in which 
they carry passengers from city to city ; but this kind of jour- 
neying is so tedious, by reason they must take waggons very 
early and come very late to their innes, none but women and 
people of inferior condition used to travel in this sort." So it is 
now in Spain. 

This yalcra is a long cart without springs ; the sides are lined 
with matting, while beneath hangs a loose open net, as under the 
calesinas of Naples, in which lies and barks a horrid dog, who 
keeps a Cerberus watch over iron pots and sieves, and such like 
gipsey utensils, and who is never to be conciliated. These 


galeras are of all sizes ; but if a galera should be a larger sort 
of vehicle than is wanted, then a '' tartana" a sort of covered 
tilted cart, which is very common in Valencia, and which is so 
called from a small Mediterranean craft of the same name, will 
be found convenient. 

The packing and departure of the galera, when hired by a 
family who remove their goods, is a thing of Spain ; the heavy 
luggage is stowed in first, and beds and mattresses spread on the 
top, on which the family repose in admired disorder. The galera 
is much used by the " poor students" of Spain, a class unique of 
its kind, and full of i-ags and impudence ; their adventures have 
the credit of being rich and picturesque, and recall some of the 
accoinits of "waggon incidents" in ' Roderick Eandom,' and 
Smollett's. novels. 

Civilization, as connected with the wheel, is still at a low ebb 
in Spain, notwitlistanding the numei'ous political revolutions. 
Except in a few great towns, the quiz vehicles remind us of 
those caricatures at which one laughed so heartily iu Paris in 
1814; and in Madrid, evendown to Ferdinand VII. 's decease, 
the Prado — its rotten row — Vv'as filled with antediluvian car- 
riages — grotesque coachmen and footmen to match, which with 
us would be put into the British Museum ; they are now, alas 
for painters and authors! worn out, and replaced by poor French 
imitations of good English originals. 

As the genuine older Spanish ones were built in remote ages, 
and before the invention of folding steps, the ascent and descent 
were facilitated by a three-legged footstool, whicli dangled, 
strapped up near the door, as appears in the hieroglypliics of Egypt 
4000 years ago ; a pair of long-eared fat mules, with hides and 
tails fantastically cut, was driven by a superannuated postilion in 
formidable jackboots, and not less formidable cocked liat of oil- 
cloth. In these, how often have we seen Spanish grandees with 
pedigrees as old-fashioned, gravely taking the air and dust! 
These slow coaches of old Spain have been rapidly sketclied by the 
clever young American ; such are tlie ups and downs of nations 
and vehicles. Spain for having discovered America has in return 
become her butt; she cannot goa-head; so the great dust of 
Alexander may stop a bung-hole, and we too join in the laugh 
and forget that our ancestors — see Beaumont and Fletclier's 

so THE COCHE DE COLLERAS. [chap. vi. 

' Maid of the Inn ' — talked of " hurrying on featherbeds that 
move upon four-wheel Spanish caroches.^^ 

While on these wheel subjects it may be observed that the carts 
and other machines of Spanish rural locomotion and husbandry- 
have not escaped better ; wlien not Oriental they are Roman ; 
rude in form and material, they are always odd, picturesque, and 
inconvenient. Tlie peasant, for the most part, scratches the 
earth witli a plough modelled after that invented by Triptolemus, 
beats out his corn as described by Homer, and carries his harvest 
home in strict obedience to the rules in the Georgics. The iron 
work is iniquitous, but both sides of the Pyrenees are centuries 
behind England ; there, absurd tariffs prohibit the importation 
of our cheap and good work in order to encourage their own bad 
and dear wares — thus poverty and ignorance are perpetuated. 

The carts in the north-west provinces are the unchanged plau- 
stra, with solid wheels, the Roman tympana which consist of mere 
circles of wood, without spokes or axles, much like mill-stones 
or Parmesan cheeses, and precisely such as the old Egyptians 
used, as is seen in hieroglyphics, and no doubt much resembling 
those sent by Joseph for his father, which are still used by the 
Affghans and other unadvanced coachraakers. The whole wheel 
turns round together with a piteous creaking ; the drivers, whose 
leathern ears are as blunt as their edgeless teeth, delight in this ex- 
cruciating Chirrio, Arabice charrar, to make atioise, which they 
call music, and delight in, because it is cheap and plays to them of 
itself; they, moreover, think it frightens wolves, bears, and the 
devil himself, as Don Quixote says, wliich it well may, for the 
wheel of Ixion, although damned in hell, never whined more 
piteously. The doleful sounds, however, serve like our waggoners' 
lively bells, as warnings to other drivers, who, in narrow paths 
and gorges of rocks, where two carriages cannot pass, have this 
notice given tliem, and draw aside until tlie coast is clear. 

We have reserved some details and the mode of driving for 
the coche de colleras, the earache of horse-collars, which is the 
real coach of Spain, and in which we have made many a pleasant 
trip ; it too is doomed to be scheduled away, for Spaniards are 
descending from these coaches and six to a cb.ariot and pair, and 
by desjrees beautifully less, to a fly. 

Mails and diligences, we have said, are only established on the 


principal high roads connected with Madrid : there are but few 
local coaches which run from one provincial town to another, 
where the necessity of frequent and certain intercommunication 
is little called for. In the otlier provinces, where these modern 
conveniences have not been introduced, the earlier mode of tra- 
velling is the only resource left to families of children, women, 
and invalids, who are unable to perform the journey on horse- 
back. This is the festina lente, or voiturier system ; and from 
its long continuance in Italy and Spain, in spite of all the im- 
provements adopted in other countries, it would appe-ir to have 
something congenial and peculiarly fitted to the habits and wants 
of those cognate nations of the south, who have a Gotho-Orientai 
dislike to be hurried — no corre priesa, there is plenty of time. 
Sie haben zeit genug. 

The Spanish vetturino, or " Calesero" is to be found, as in 
Italy, standing for hire in particular and well-known places in 
every principal town. There is not much necessity for hunting 
for him ; he has the Italian instinctive perception of a stranger 
and traveller, and the same importunity in volunteering himself, 
his cattle, and carriage, for any part of Spain. The man, how- 
ever, and his equipage are peculiarly Spanish ; his carriage and 
his team have undergone little change during the last two cen- 
turies, and are the representatives of the former ones of Europe ; 
they resemble those vehicles once used in England, which may 
still be seen in the old prints of country-houses by Kip ; or, as 
regards France, in the pictures of Louis XIV. 's journeys and 
campaigns by Vandermeulen. They are the remnant of the 
once universal " coach and six," in which accordina: to Pone, 
who was not infallible, British fair were to delight for ever. 
The " cache de colleras" is a huge cumbrous machine, built after 
the fashion of a reduced lord mayor's coach, or some of the 
equipages of the old cardinals at Rome. It is ornamented with 
rude sculpture, gilding, and painting of glaring colour, but tiie 
modern pea-jacket and round hat spoil the picture wliich requires 
passengers dressed in brocade and full-bottomed wigs ; the fore- 
wheels are very low, the hind ones very high, and both remark- 
ably narrov/ in the tire; remember when they stick in the mud, 
and the drivers call upon Santiago, to push the vehicle out hack- 
wards, as the more you draw it forwards the deeper you get into 


THE IMAYORAL. [chap. vi. 

the mire. The pole sticks out like the bowsprit of a ship, and 
contains as much wood and iron work as would go to a small 
wagg-on. The interior is lined with gay silk and gaudy plush, 
adorned with lace and embroidery, with doors that open indiffer- 
ently and windows tliat do not shut well ; latterly the general 
poverty and prose of transpyrenean civilization has effaced much 
of these ornate nationalities, botli in coach and drivers; better 
roads and lighter vehicles require fewer horses, which were 
absolutely necessary formerly to drag the heavy concern through 
heavier ways. 

The lusjimge is piled up behind, or stowed away in a front 
boot. The management of driving this vehicle is conducted by 
two persons. The master is called the " mayoral " his helper or 
cad the " mozo,'' or, more properly, " el zagal" from the Arabic, 
"a strono- active youth." The costume is peculiar, and is based 
on that of Andalucia, which sets the fashion all over the Penin- 
sula, in all matters regarding bull-fighting, horse-dealing, rob- 
bing, smnggling, and so forth. He wears on liis liead a gay- 
coloured silk handkerchief, tied in such a manner that the tails 
hano- down behind ; over tliis remnant of the Moorish turban he 
places a high-peaked sugarloaf-shaped hat with broad brims ; his 
jaunty jacket is made either of black sheepskin, studded with 
silver ta"-s and filigree buttons, or of brown clolh, with the 
back, arms, and particularly the elbows, welted and tricked out 
with flowers and vases, cut in patches of different-coloured cloth 
and much embroidered. When the jacket is not worn, it is 
usually hung over the left shoulder, after tlie hussar fashion. 
The waistcoat is made of rich fancy silk ; the breeches of blue 
or green velvet plusli, ornamented with stripes and filigree but- 
tons, and tied at the knee with silken cords and tassels ; the 
neck is left open, and the shirt collar turned down, and a gaudy 
neck-handkerchief is worn, oftener passed througli a ring tlian 
tied in a knot ; his waist is girt with a red sash, or with one of 
a bright yellow. This "/f/ja,"* a sine qua non, is the old Roman 

* Faja ; the Hhezum of Cairo. Atrides tightens his sash when preparing 
for action— Iliad xi. 15. The Roman soldiers kept their money in it. Ibit 
qui zonam perdidit.— Hor. ii. Ep. 2. 40. The Jews used it for the same pur- 
pose— Matthew x. 9; Mark-vi. 8. It is loosened at night. "INone shall 
slumber or sleep, neither shall the girdle of then- loins be loosed. —Isaiah 
v. 27. 


zona ; it serves also for a purse, " girds the loins," and keeps up 
a warmth over the abdomen, which is highly beneficial in hot 
climates, and wards off any tendency to irritable colic ; in the 
sash is stuck the '■^ navaja" the knife, which is part and pai'cel 
of a Spaniard, and behind the '•'' zcujaV usually places his stick. 
The richly embroidered gaiters are left open at the outside to 
show a handsome stocking ; the shoes are yellow, like those of 
our cricketers, and are generally made of untanned calfskin, 
which being the colour of dust require no cleaning. Tlie cale- 
seros on tlie eastern coast wear tlie Valencian stocking, which 
has no feet to it — being open at bottom, it is likened by wags to a 
Spaniard's purse ; instead of top boots they wear the ancient 
Roman sandals, made of the esparto rush, with hempen soles, 
which are called " alpargatas,^^ Arabice AlpaJgah. Tlie '• zaguV 
follows the fashion in dress of the " mayoral^* as nearly as his 
means will permit hiin. He is the servant of all-work, and must 
be ready on every occasion ; nor can any one who has ever seen 
the hard and incessant toil which these men undergo, justly 
accuse them of being indolent — a reproach which has been cast 
somewhat indiscriminately on all the lower classes of Spain ; he 
runs by the side of the carriage, picks up stones to pelt tlie mules, 
ties and unties knots, and pours forth a volley of blows and oaths 
from the moment of starting to that of arrival. He sometimes 
is indulged witii a ride by the side of the mayoral on t!ie bov, 
when he always uses the tail of the hind mule to pull himself up 
into his seat. The harnessing the six animals is a difficult opera- 
tion ; first the tackle of ropes is laid out on the ground, then each 
beast is brought into his portion of the rigging. Tiie start is 
always an important ceremony, and, as our royal mail used to do 
in the country, brings out all the idlers in the vicinity. When 
the team is harnessed,^ the mayoral gets all his skeins of ropes 
into his hand, the " zagaV his sash full of stones, the helpers at 
the venta tiieir sticks ; at a given signal all fire a volley of oaths 
and blows at the team, which, once in mot" m, away it goes, 
pitching over ruts deep as routine prejudices, with its pole dip- 
ping and rising like a ship in a rolling sea, and continues at a 
brisk pace, performing from twenty-five to thirty miles a-day. 
The hours of starting are early, in order to avoid the mid-day 
heat ; in these matters the Spanish customs are pretty much the 

64 DRIVING IN SPAIN. [chap. vi. 

same with the Italian ; the calesero is always the best judge of 
the hours of departure and these minor details, which vary ac- 
cording to circumstances. 

Whenever a particularly bad bit of road occurs, notice is given 
to the team by calling over their names, and by crying out 
" arre, arre" gee-up, which is varied with '■'^Jirme, Jirme" 
steady, boy, steady ! The names of the animals are always 
fine-sounding and polysyllabic ; the accent is laid on the last 
syllable, which is always dwelt on and lengthened out with a 
particular emphasis — Cupitdna-d — BdndOlerd-d — Geiieruld-d — 
Vdlerosd-d. All this vocal driving is performed at the top of 
the voice, and, indeed, next to scaring away crows in a field, 
must be considered the best possible practice for the lungs. The 
team often exceeds six in number, and never is less ; the propor- 
tion of females predominates: there is generally one male mule 
making the seventh, who is called " el macho" the male par excel- 
lence, like the Grand Turk, or a substantive in a speech in Cortes, 
whicii seldom has less than half a dozen epithets: he invariably 
comes in for the largest share of abuse and ill usage, wliich, in- 
deed, he deserves the most, as the male mule is infinitely more 
stubborn and viciously inclined than the female. Sometimes 
there is a horse of the Rosinante breed ; he is called " el cavallo" 
or rather, as it is pronounced, " el cdvdl yb-d." The horse is 
always the best used of the teai;i ; to be a rider, '■'■ cahallero" 
is the Spaniard's synonym for gentleman ; and it is their correct 
mode of addressing each other, and is banded gravely among 
the lower orders, who never have crossed any quadruped save a 
mule or a jackass. 

The driving a coche de coUeras is quite a science of itself, and 
is observed in conducting diligences; it amuses the Spanish 
" majo" or fancy-man as much as coach-driving does the fancy- 
man of England ; the great art lies not in handling the ribbons, 
but in the proper modulation of the voice, since the cattle are 
always addressed individually by their names ; the first syllables 
are pronounced very rapidly ; the " macho" the male mule, who 
is the most abused, is tlie only one who is not addressed by any 
names beyond that of his sex : the word is repeated with a volu- 
ble iteration ; in order to make the two syllables longer, they 
are strung together thus, macho — macho — macho — mdcho-o : 


they begin in semiquavers, flowing on crescendo to a semibreve 
or breve, so the four words are compounded into one polysyllable. 
The horse, cahallo. is simply called so ; he has no particular name 
of his own, which the female mules are never without, and wliich 
they perfectly know — indeed, the owners will say that they under- 
stand them, and all bad language, as well as Christian women, 
^' como Cristianas ;" and, to do the beasts justice, they seem more 
shocked and discomfited thereby than the bipeds who profess the 
same creed. If the animal called to does not answer by pricking 
up her ears, or by quickening her pace, the threat of" Id vara" 
the stick, is added — the last argument of Spanish drivers, men in 
office, and schoolmasters, M'ith whom there is no sort of reason 
equal to that of the bastinado, " no hay tal razon, como la del 
haston.'^ It operates on the timorous more than " unadorned 
eloquence." The Moors thought so highly of the bastinado, that 
they held the stick to be a special gift from Allah to the faith- 
ful. It holds good, a 'priori and a posteriori, to mule and boy, 
" al hijo y mulo, para el culo ;" and if the " macho " be in 
fault, and he is generally punished to encourage the others, some 
abuse is added to blows, such as " que piirrbo,'^ " what a dog !" 
or some unhandsome allusion to his mother, which is followed 
by throwing a stone at the leaders, for no whip could reach 
them from the coach-box. Wlien any particular mule's name is 
called, if her companion be the next one to be abused, she is 
seldom addressed by her name, but is spoken to as " a la otrd-u" 
'"'■ aquella otrd-d" "Now for that other one," which from long 
association is expected and acknowledged. The team obeys the 
voice and is in admirable command. Few things are more 
entertaining than driving them, especially over bad roads ; but 
it requires mucli practice in Spanish speaking and swearing. 

Among the many commandments that are always broken in 
Spain, that of " swear not at all " is not the least. " Our army 
swore lustily in Flanders," said Uncle Toby. But few nations 
can surpass the Spaniards in the language of vituperation : it is 
limited only by the extent of their anatomical, geograpliicah 
astronomical, and religious knowledge ; it is so plentifully be- 
stowed on their animals — " un muletier a ce jeu vaut trois rois" 
— that oaths and imprecations seem to be considered as the only 
language the mute creation can comprehend ; and as actions are 


SPANISH OATHS. [chap. vr. 

generally suited to the words, the combination is remarkably 
effective. As much of the traveller's time on the road must be 
passed among beasts and muleteers, who are not unlike them, 
some knowledge of their sayings and doings is of great use: to 
be able to talk to them in their own lingo, to take an interest in 
them and in their animals, never fails to please ; " Por vida del 
demonio, mas sabe Usia que nosotros " " by the life of the devil, 
your honour knows more than v/e," is a common form of com- 
pliment. When once equality is established, the master mind 
soon becomes the real master of the rest. The great oath of 
Spain, which ought never to be written or pronounced, prac- 
tically forms the foundation of the language of the lower orders ; 
it is a most ancient remnant of the phallic abjuration of the 
evil eye, the dreaded fascination wliich still perplexes the minds 
of Orientals, and is not banished from Spanish and Neapolitan 
superstitions.* The word terminates in ajo, on which great 
stress is laid : the j is pronounced witii a most Arabic, guttural 
aspiration. The word ajo means also garlic, which is quite as 
often in Spanish mouths, and is exactly what Hotspur liked, a 
" mouth-filling oath," energetic and Michael Angelesque. The 
pun has been extended to oiuons t thus. <■' ajos y cchoUas" means 
oaths and imprecations. The sting of the v,ath is in the " ajo" 
all women and quiet men, who do not wish to be particularly 
objurgatory, but merely to enforce and give a little additional 
vigour, un soup5on d'ail, or a shotting to their discourse, drop 
the offensive " «/o,"and say " car" " caral," '' caramba." The 
Spanish oath is used as a verb, as a substantive, as an adjective, 
just as it suits the grammar or the v,'rath of the utterer. It is 

* The dread of the fascination of the evil eye, from which Solomon was 
not exempt (Proverbs xxiii. (i), prevails all over the East; it has not been 
extirpated from Spain or from Naples, which so long belonged to Spain. 
The lower classes in the Peninsula hang round the necks of their children 
and cattle a horn tipped with silver; this is sold as an amulet in the silver- 
smiths' shops ; tlie cord by which it is attached ought to be braided from 
a black mare's tail. The Spanish gipsies, of wliom Borrow has given us so 
complete an account, thrive by disarming the mol dc ojo, '■'qiterelar nasulu,"^ 
as tliey term it. The dread of the " Ain ara " exists among all classes of 
the Moors. The better classes of Spaniards make a jol;e_of it; and often, 
when you remark that a person has put on or wears something strange about 
iiim, the answer is, " Es para que no me luujan mal de ojv." Naples is the 
head-quarters for charms and coral amulets : all the learning has been col- 
lected by the Canon Jorio and the Marques Arditi. 


equivalent also to a certain place and the person who lives there. 
'• Vaya Usted al C — ajo " is the worst form of the angry 
" Vaya Usted al demonio" or " a los injiernos" and is a whim- 
sical mixture of courtesy and transportation. " Your Grace 
may go to the devil, or to the infernal regions ! " 

Thus these imprecatory vegetables retain in Spain their old 
Egyptian flavour and mystical charm ; as on the Nile, according 
to Pliny, onions and garlic were worshipped as adjuratory divini- 
ties. The Spaniards have also added most of the gloomy northern 
Gothic oaths, which are imprecatory, to the Oriental, which are 
grossly sensual. Enough of this. The traveller who lias nmch 
to do with Spanish mules and asses, biped or quadruped, will need 
no hand-book to teach him the sixty-five or more ^^ serments 
espaigiiols " on which Mons. de Brantome wrote a treatise. 
More becoming will it be to the English gentleman to swear not 
at all ; a reasonable indulgence in Caramha is all that can be 
permitted; the custom is more honoured in the breach' than in 
the observance, and bad luck seldom deserts the house of the 
imprecator. " En la casa del que jura, no falta desave?itura" 

Previously to hiring one of these " coaches of collars," which 
is rather an expensive amusement, every possible precaution 
should be taken in clearly and minutely specifying everything to 
be done, and the price ; tlie Spanish " caleseros " rival their 
Italian colleagues in that untruth, roguery, and dishonesty, which 
seem everywhere to combine readily with jockeyship, and distin- 
guishes those who handle the whip, " do jobbings," and conduct 
mortals by horses ; the fee to be given to the drivers should never 
be included in the bargain, as the keeping this important item 
open and dependent on the good beliaviour of tiie future reci- 
pients offers a sure check over master and man, and other road- 
classes. In justice, however, to this class of Spaniards, it may be 
said that on the whole they are civil, good-humoured, and hard- 
working, and, from not having been accustomed to either the 
screw bargaining or alternate extravagance of the English travel- 
lers in Italy, are as tolerably fair in their transactions as can be 
expected from human nature brought in constant contact with 
four-legged and four-wheeled tem[){ations. Tiiey offer to the 
artist an endless subject of the picturesque ; everytiiing con- 
nected with them is full of form, colour, and originalify. They 


CS HINTS FOR HIRING. [chap. vi. 

can do nothing, whether sitting, driving, sleeping, or eating, 
that does not make a picture ; the same may be said of their 
animals and their habits and harness *, those who draw will never 
find the midday halt long enough for the infinite variety of sub- 
ject and scenery to which their travelling equipage and attendants 
form the most peculiar and appropriate foreground : while our 
modern poetasters will consider them quite as worthy of being 
sung in immortal verse as the Cambridge carrier Hobson, who 
was Milton's choice. 



Spanish Horses — Mules — Asses — Muleteers — l\Iaragatos. 

We now proceed to Spanish quadrupeds, liaving placed tlie 
wheel-carriages before the horses. That of Andalucia takes pre- 
cedence of all ; he fetches the highest price, and the Spaniards 
in general value no other breed ; they consider his configuration 
and qualities as perfect,- and in some respects they are right, for 
no horse is more elegant or more easy in his motions, none are 
more gentle or docile, none are more quick in acquiring showy 
accomplishments, or in performing feats of Astleyan agility; he 
has very little in common with the English blood-horse ; his mane 
is soft and silky, and is frequently plaited with gay ribbons ; his 
tail is of great length, and left in all the proportions of nature, 
not cropped and docked, by which Voltaire was so nmch 
offended : — 

" Fiers et bizarres Anglais, qui des memes ciseaux 
Coupez la tete aux rois, et la queue aux clievaux." 

It often trails to the very ground, while the animal lias perfect 
command over it, lashing it on everj^ side as a gentleman switches 
his cane ; therefore, when on a journey, it is usual to double 
and tie it up, after the fashion of the ancient pig-tails of our sailors. 
The Andalucian horse is round in his quarters, though inclined 
to be small in the barrel ; he is broad-chested, and always carries 
his head high, especially when going a good pace ; his length 
of leg adds to his height, which sometimes reaches to sixteen 
hands ; he never, however, stretches out with the long graceful 
sweep of the English thorough-bred ; his action is apt to be loose 
and shambling, and he is given to dishing with the feet. The 
pace is, notwithstanding, perfectly delightful. From being 
very long in the pastern, the motion is broken as it were by the 
springs of a carriage; their pace is the peculiar '■'■ ■paso Cas- 

70 OTHER SPANISH HORSES. [chap, vii, 

iellano,^^ which is something more than a walk, and less than a 
trot, and it is truly sedate and sedan-chair-like, and suits a grave 
Don, who is given, like a Turk, to tobacco and contemplation. 
Those Andalucian horses which fall when young into the hands 
of the officers at Gibraltar acquire a very different action, and 
lay themselves better down to their work, and gain much more 
in speed from the English system of training than they would 
have done had they been managed by Spaniards. Taught or un- 
taught, this pace is most gentlemanlike, and well did Beaumont 
and Fletcher 

" Think it noble, as Spaniards do in riding, 
lu managhig a great horse, which is princely ;" 

and as has been said, is the only attitude in wliich the kings of 
the Spains, true (piXnnroi, ought ever to be painted, witching the 
world with noble horsemanship. 

Many other provinces possess breeds which are more useful, 
though far less showy, than the Andalucian. The horse of 
Castile is a strong, hardy animal, and the best which Spain pro- 
duces for mounting heavy cavalry. The ponies of Gallicia, 
although ugly and uncouth, are admirably suited to the wild 
hilly country and laborious population ; they require very little 
care or grooming, and are satisfied with coarse food and Indian 
corn. Tiie horses of Navarre, once so celebrated, are still 
esteemed for their hardy strength ; they have, from neglect, de- 
generated into ponies, which, however, are beautiful in form, 
hardy, docile, sure-footed, and excellent trotters. In most of the 
large towns of Spain there is a sort of market, where horses are 
publicly sold ; but Honda fair, in May, is the great Ilouden and 
Horncastle of the four provinces of Seville, Cordova, Jaen, and 
Granada, and the resort of all the picturesque-looking rogues of 
the south. The reader of Don Quixote need not be told that the 
race of Gines Passamonte is not extinct ; the Spanish Chalanes, 
or horse-dealers, have considerable talents ; but the cleverest is 
but a mere child when compared to the perfection of rascality to 
which a real English professor has attained in the mysteries of 
lying, chaunting, and making up a horse. 

The breeding of horses was carefully attended to by the Spanish 
government previously to the invasion of the French, by whom 


the entire horses and brood-mares were either killed or stolen, 
and the buildings and stables burnt. 

The saddles used commonly-in Spain are Moorish ; they are 
made with high peak and croup behind ; the stirrup-irons are 
large triangularly-shaped boxes. The food is equally Oriental, 
and consists of " barley and straw," as mentioned in the Bible. 
We well remember the horror of our Andalucian groom, on our 
first reaching Gallicia, when he rushed in, exclaiming that the 
beasts would perish, as nothing was to be had there but oats and 
hay. After some difficulty he was persuaded to see if they would 
eat it, whicli to his surprise they actually did ; such, however, is 
habit, that they soon fell out of condition, and did not recover until 
the damp mountains were quitted for the arid plains of Castile. 

Spaniards in general prefer mules and asses to the horse, which 
is more delicate, requires greater attention, and is less sure-footed 
over broken and precipitous ground. The mule performs in 
Spain the functions of the camel in the East, and has son^etliing 
in his morale (besides liis physical suitableness to the country) 
which is congenial to the character of his masters ; he lias the 
same self-willed obstinacy, the same resignation mider burdens, 
the same singular capability of endurance of labour, fatigue, and 
privation. The mule has always been much used in Spain, and 
the demand for them very great ; yet, from some mistaken 
crotchet of Spanish political economy (whicli is very Spanish), 
the breeding of the mule has long been attempted to be pre- 
vented, in order to encourage that of the horse. One of the 
reasons alleged was, that the mule was a non-reproductive 
animal ; an argument which might or ought to apply equally to 
the monk ; a breed for which Spain could have shown for the 
first prize, both as to number anil size, against any other country 
in all Christendom. This attempt to force the production of an 
annual far less suited to the wants and habits of the people has 
failed, as might be expected. The difficulties thrown in the 
way have only tended to raise tlie prices of mules, whicli are, 
and always were, very dear ; a good mule will fetch from 25/. to 
50/., while a horse of relative goodness may be purchased for 
from 20/. to 40/. IMules were always very dear ; thus Martial, 
like a true Andalucian Spaniard, talks of one which cost more 

I - ASSES. [chap. VII. 

than a house. The most esteemed are those bred from the mare 
and the ass, or '' garcuioii" * some of wliich are of extraordinary 
size ; and one wiiieli Don Carlos had in liis stud-house at Aranjuez 
in 1832 exceeded fifteen Iiands in height. This colossal ass and 
a Spanish infante were wortiiy of each otlier. 

The mules in Spain, as in tlie East, have their coats closely 
shorn or clipped ; part of the hair is usually left on in stripes like 
the zebra, or cut into fanciful patterns, like the tattooings of a 
Xew Zealand chief This process of sliearing is found to keep the 
beast cooler and freer from cutaneous disorders. The operation 
is performed in the southern provinces by gipsies, who are the 
same tinkers, horse-dealers, and vagrants in Spain as elsewhere. 
Their clipping recalls the " mulo curto," on which Horace could 
amble even to Brundusium. The operators rival in talent 
those worthy Frenchmen who cut the hair of poodles on the 
Pont Neuf, in the heart and brain of European civilization. 
Their Spanish colleagues may be known by the shears, formid- 
able and classical- shaped as those of Laehesis and her sisters, 
which they carry in their sashes. They are very particular in 
clipping the heels and pasterns, which they say ouglit to be as 
free from superfluous hair as the palm of a lady's hand. 

Spanish asses have been innnortalised by Cervantes ; they are 
endeared to us by Sancho's love and talent of imitation ; he 
brayed so well, be it remembered, that all the long-eared chorus 
joined a performer who, in his own modest phrase, only 
wanted a tail to be a perfect donkey. Spanish mayors, accord- 
ing to Don Quixote, have a natural talent for this braying; but, 
save and except in the west of England, their right worsliipfuls 
may be matched elsewhere. 

The humble ass, " burro,'' '^'horrico," is the rule, the as in 
praesenti, and part and parcel of every Spanish scene : he forms 
the appropriate foreground in streets or roads. Wherever two or 
three Spaniards are collected together in market, jWito, or "con- 
gregation," there is quite sure to be an ass among them ; he is 

* ThQgaranon is also called '-hn no padre" ass father, not " padre burro." 
" Padre," the prefix of paternity, is the common title given in Spain to the 
clergy and the monks. " Father jackass" might in many instances, wlien 
applied to the latter, be too morally and physically appropriate, to be con- 
sistent with the respect due to the celibate cowl and cassock. 


the hard worked companion of the lower orders, to whom to work 
is the greatest misfortune ; sufferance is indeed the common virtue 
of both tribes. They may, perhaps, both wince a little when a 
new burden or a new tax is laid on them by Senor Mon, but they 
soon, when they see that there is no remedy, bear on and endure : 
from this fellow-feeling, master and animal cherish each other at 
heart, though, from the blows and imprecations bestowed openly, 
the former may be thought by hasty observers to be ashamed of 
confessing these predilections in public. Some under-current, 
no doubt, remains of the ancient prejudices of chivalry ; but 
Cervantes, who thoroughly understood human nature in general, 
and Spanish nature in particular, has most justly dwelt on the 
dear love which Sancho Panza felt for his " Rucio" and marked 
the reciprocity of the brute, affectionate as intelligent. In fact, 
in the Sagra district, near Toledo, he is called Elvecino, one of 
the householders ; and none can look a Spanish ass in the face 
without remarking a peculiar expression, which indicates that the 
hairy fool considers himself, like the pig in a cabin of the " first 
gem of the sea," to be one of tlie family, de la familla, or de 
nosotros. La Mancha is the paradise of mules and asses ; many 
a Sancho at this moment is there fondlinar andembracino;- his ass, 
his " chato chatito,'" " romo" or other complimentary variations 
of Snid), with which, when not abusing him, he delights to nick- 
name his helpmate. In Spain, as Sappho says, Love is y\vK.v- 
TTiKpoy, an alternation of the agro-dolce ; nor is there any Preven- 
tion of Cruelty Society towards animals ; every Spaniard has the 
same right in law and equity to kick and beat his own ass to his 
own liking, as a philanthropical Yankee has to wallop his own 
niggar ; no one ever thinks of interposing on these occasions, any 
more than they would in a quarrel between a man and liis wife. 
The words are, at all events, on one side. It is, however, re- 
corded in jnam memoriam, of certain Roman Catholic asses of 
Spain, that they tried to throw off one Tomas Trebifio and some 
other heretics, when on the way to be burnt, being horror-struck 
at bearing such monsters. Every Spanish peasant is heart- 
broken when injury is done to liis ass, as well he may be, for it 
is the means by which he lives ; nor has he much chance, if he 
loses him, of finding a crown when hunting for him, as was once 

74 THE JMULETEER. [chap. vii. 

done, or even a government like Sancho. Sterne would have 
done better to have laid the venue of his sentimentalities over a 
dead ass in Spain, rather than in France, where the quadruped 
species is much rarer. In Spain, where small carts and wheel- 
barrows are almost unknown, and the drawing them is con- 
sidered as beneath the dignity of the Spanisli man, the substitute, 
an ass, is in constant employ ; sometimes it is laden with sacks 
of corn, with wine-skins, with water-jars, with dung, or with 
dead robbers, sliuig like sacks over the back, their arms and legs 
tied under the animal's belly. Asses' milk, "■ lec/te de hurra" 
is in much request during the spring season. The brown sex 
drink it in order to fine their complexions and cool their blood, 
'■'■ refrescar la sangre ;' the clergy and men in oflfice, " /o* 
empleados" to whom it is mother's milk, swallow it in order 
that it may give tone to their gastric juices. Riding on assback 
was accounted a disgrace and a degradation to the Gothic 
hidalgo, and the Spaniards, in the sixteenth century, mounted 
unrepining cuckolds, " los cormcdos pacientes," on asses. Now 
a-days, in spite of all these unpleasant associations, the grandee-, 
and their wives, and even grave ambassadors from foreign parts, 
during the royal residence at Aranjnez, much delight in ele- 
vating themselves on this beast of ill omen, and '■' horricadas" 
or donkey parties are all the fashion. 

The muleteer of Spain is justly renowned ; his generic term 
is arriero, a gee-uper, for his arre arre is pure Arabic, as indeed 
are almost all the terms connected with his craft, as the Moriscoes 
were long the great carriers of Spain. To travel with the 
muleteer, when the party is small or a person is alone, is both 
cheap and safe ; indeed, many of the most picturesque portions 
of Spain, Eonda and Granada for instance, can scarcely be 
reached except by walking or riding. These men, who are con- 
stantly on the road, and going backwards and forwards, are the 
best persons to consiilt for details ; their animals are generally to 
be hired, but a muleteer's stud is not pleasant to ride, since their 
beasts always travel in single files. The leading animal is furnished 
with a copper bell with a wooden clapper, to give notice of their 
marcli, which is shaped like an ice-mould, sometimes two feet 
long, and hangs from the neck, being contrived, as it were, on 


purpose to knock the animal's knees as much as possible, and to 
emit the greatest quantity of the most melancholy sounds, which, 
according to the pious origin of all bells, were meant to 
scare away the Evil One. The bearer of all this tiiitinnabular 
clatter is chosen from its superior docility and knack in picking 
out a way. The others follow their leader, and the noise he 
makes when they cannot see him. They are heavily but scien- 
tifically laden. The cargo of each is divided into three portions ; 
one is tied on each side, and the other placed between. If the 
cargo be not nicely balanced, the muleteer either unloads or adds 
a few stones to the lighter portion — the additional weight being 
compensated by the greater comfort with which a well-poised 
burden is carried. These "sumpter" mules are gaily decorated 
with trappings full of colour and tags. The head-gear is com- 
posed of different coloured worsteds, to which a multitude of 
small bells are affixed ; hence the saying, " mucjer de mucha 
campanula" a woman of many bells, of much show, much noise, 
or pretension. The muleteer either walks by the side of his 
animal or sits aloft on the cargo, with his feet dangling on the 
neck, a seat which is by no means so uncomfortable as it would 
appear. A rude gun, " but 'twill serve," and is loaded Avith 
slugs, hangs always in readiness by his side, and often with it a 
guitar ; these emblems of life and death paint the unchanged 
reckless condition of Iberia, where extremes have ever met, 
where a man still goes out of the world like a swan, with a song. 
Thus accoutred, as Byron says, with " all that gave, promise of 
pleasure or a grave," the approach of the caravan is announced 
from afar by his cracked or guttural voice : " How carols now 
the lusty muleteer !" For when not engaged in swearing or 
smoking, the livelong day is passed in one monotonous high- 
pitched song, the tune of whicli is little in harmony with the im- 
port of the words, or his cheerful humour, being most unmusical 
and melancholy ; but such is the true type of Oriental melody, 
as it is called. Tlie same absence of thought which is shown in 
England by whistling is displayed in Spain by singing. " Quien 
canfa sus males espa?ita:" he who sings frightens away ills, 
a philosophic consolation in travel as old and as classical as 
Virgil : — " Cantantcs licet usque, minus via taedet, eamus," 

MARAGATOS. [chap. vii. 

which may be thus translated for tlie benefit of country gentle- 
men : — 

If we join in doleful chorus, 

The dull highway will much less bore us. 

The Spanish muleteer is a fine fellow ; he is intelligent, active, 
and enduring; he braves hunger and thirst, heat and cold, mud 
and dust ; he works as hard as his cattle, never robs or is robbed ; 
and while his betters in this land put off everything till to-morrow 
except bankruptcy, he is punctual and honest, his frame is wiry 
and sinewy, his costume peculiar ; many are the leagues and 
long, which we have ridden in his caravan, and longer his robber 
yarns, to which we paid no attention ; and it must be admitted 
that these cavalcades are truly national and picturesque. Mingled 
with droves of mules and mounted horsemen, the zig-zag lines come 
threading down the mountain defiles, now tracking through tlie 
aromatic brushwood, now concealed amid rocks and olive-trees, 
now emerging bright and glittering into the sunshine, giving life 
and movement to the lonely nature, and breaking the usual still- 
ness by the tinkle of the bell and the sad ditty of the muleteer 
— sounds which, though unmusical in themselves, are in keeping 
with the scene, and associated with wild Spanish rambles, just as 
the harsh whetting of tlie scythe is mixed up with the sweet spring 
and newh'-mown hay-meadow. 

There is one class of muleteers which are but little known to 
European travellers — the Marayatos, whose head-quarters are at 
San Roma7i, near Astorga ; they, like the .Jew and gipsy, live ex- 
clusively among their own people, preserving their primeval cos- 
tume and customs, and never marrying out of their own tribe. They 
are as perfectly nomad and wandering as the Bedouins, the mule 
only being substituted for the camel ; their honesty and industry 
are proverbial. They are a sedate, grave, dry, matter-of-fact, 
business-like people. Their charges are high, but the security 
counterbalances, as they may be trusted with untold gold. They 
are the cliannels of all traffic between Gallicia and the Castiles, 
being seldom seen in the south or east provinces. They are 
dressed in leathern jerkins, whicli fit tightly like a cuirass, leaving 
the arms free. Tlieir linen is coarse but white, especially the 
shirt collar ; a broad leather belt, in which there is a purse, is 


fastened round the waist. Their breeches, like those of the Valen- 
cians, are called Zaraguelles, a pure Arabic word for kilts or wide 
drawers, and no burgomaster of Rembrandt is more broad- 
bottomed. Their legs are encased in long brown clotli gaiters, 
with red garters ; their hair is generally cut close — sometimes, 
however, strange tufts are left. A huge, slouching, flapping hat 
completes the most inconvenient of travelling dresses, and it is 
too Dutch to be even picturesque ; but these fashions are as 
vmchanoeable as the laws of the Medes and Persians were ; nor 
will any Maragato dream of altering his costume until those 
dressed models of painted wood do Avhich strike the hours of the 
clock on the square of Astoi-ga : Pedro 3Iato, also, another 
figure costumee, who holds a weathercock at the cathedral, is the 
observed of all observers ; and, in truth, this particular costume 
is, as that of Quakers used to be, a guarantee of their tribe and 
respectability ; tlius even Cordero, the rich Maragato deputy, 
appeared in Cortes in this local costume. 

The dress of the Maragata is equally peculiar : she wears, if 
married, a sort of head-gear. El Caramiello, in the shape of a 
crescent, the round part coming over the forehead, which is very 
Moorish, and resembles those of the females in the basso-rilievos 
at Granada. Their hair flows loosely on their shoulders, while 
their apron or petticoat hangs down open before and behind, and 
is curiously tied at the back with a sash, and their bodice is 
cut square over the bosom. At their festivals they are covered 
with ornaments of long cliains of coral and metal, with crosses, 
relics, and medals in silver. Their earrings are very heavy, and 
supported by silken threads, as among the Jewesses in Barbary. 
A marriage is the grand feast ; then large parties assemble, and 
a president is chosen, who puts into a waiter whatever sum of 
money he likes, and all invited must then give as much. The 
bride is enveloped in a mantle, whicli she wears the whole day, 
and never* again except on that of her husband's death. She 
does not dance at the wedding-ball. Early next morning two 
roast chickens are brought to the bed-side of the happy pair. 
The next evening ball is opened by the bride and her husband, 
to the tune of the gaita, or Moorish bagpipe. Their dances are 
grave and serious ; such indeed is their whole character. The 

78 THEIR ORIGIN. [chap. vn. 

Maragatos, with their honest, weatlier-beaten countenances, are 
seen with files of mules all along the high road to La Coruiia. 
They generally walk, and, like other Spanish arrieros, although 
they sing and curse rather less, are employed in one ceaseless 
shower of stones and blows at their mules. 

Tlie whole tribe assembles twice a year at Astorga, at the feasts 
of Corpus and the Ascension, when tliey dance El Canizo, be- 
ginning at two o'clock in the afternoon, and ending precisely at 
three. If any one not a Maragato joins, they all leave off 
immediately. The women never wander from their homes, 
which their undomestic husbands always do. They lead the 
hardworked life of the Iberian females of old, and now, as then, 
are to be seen everywhere in these west provinces toiling in the 
fields, early before the sun has risen, and late after it has set; 
and it is most painful to behold them drudging at these unfemi- 
nine vocations. 

The origin of the Maragatos has never been ascertained. 
Some consider them to be a remnant of the Celtiberian, others 
of tlie Visigoths ; most, however, prefer a Bedouin, or caravan 
descent. It is in vain to question these ignorant carriers as to 
their history or origin ; for like the gipsies, tliey have no traditions, 
and know nothing. An-ieros, at all events, they are ; and that 
word, in common with so many others relating to the barb and 
carrier-caravan craft, is Arabic, and proves whence the system 
and science were derived by Spaniards. 

The 3Iaragatos are celebrated for their fine beasts of burden ; 
indeed, the mules of Leon are renowned, and the asses splendid 
and numerous, especially the nearer one approaches to the learned 
university of Salamanca. The Maragatos take precedence on 
the road ; they are the lords of the highway, being the channels 
of commerce in a land where mules and asses represent 
luggage rail trains. They know and feel their importance, 
and that they are tlie rule, and the traveller for mere plea- 
sure is the exception. Few Spanish muleteers are much more 
polished than their beasts, and however picturesque the scene, 
it is no joke meeting a string of laden beasts in a narrow 
road, especially with a precipice on one side, cosa dc EspaTia. 
The Maragatos seldom give way, and their mules keep doggedly 


on ; as the baggage projects on each side, like the paddles of a 
steamer, they sweep the whole patli. But all wayfaring details 
in the genuine Spanish interior are calculated for the pack, as in 
England a century back ; and there is no thought bestowed on 
the foreigner, who is not wanted, nay is disliked. The inns, 
roads, and right sides, suit the natives and their brutes ; nor will 
either put themselves out of their way to please the fancies of a 
stranger. The racy Peninsula is too little travelled over for its 
natives to adopt the mercenary conveniences of the Swiss, that 
nation of innkeepers and coach-jobbers. 

8(? RIDING TOURS. fcHAP. viii 


Riding Tour in Spain— Pleasures of it — Pedestrian Tour — Choice of Com- 
panions — Rules for a Riding Tour — Season of Year — Day's Journey — 
I\Iauagemeut of Horse ; his Feet ; Shoes ; General Hints. 

A MAN in a public carriage ceases to be a private individual : 
he is merged into the fare, and becomes a number according to 
his place ; he is booked like a parcel, and is delivered by the 
guard. IIow free, how lord and master of himself, does the 
same dependent gentleman mount his eager barb, who by his 
neighing and pawing exhibits his joyful impatience to be off too ! 
How fresh and sweet the free breath of heaven, after the frousty 
atmosphere of a full inside of foreigners, who, from the narcotic 
effects of tobacco, forget the existence of soap, water, and clean 
linen ! Travelling on horseback, so lumsual a gratification to 
Englishmen, is the ancient, primitive, and once universal mode 
of travelling in Europe, as it still is in the East ; mankind, 
however, soon gets accustomed to a changed state of locomotion, 
and forgets how recent is its introduction. Fynes Morj-son gave 
much the same advice two centuries ago to travellers in England, 
as must be now suggested to those wlio in Spain desert tlie coach- 
beaten highways for the delightful bye-ways, and thus explore 
the rarely visited, but not the least interesting portions of the 
Peninsula. It has been our good fortune to perform many of 
these expeditions on horseback, both alone and in company ; and 
on one occasion to have made the pilgrimage from Seville to 
Santiago, through Estremadura and Gallicia, returning by the 
Asturias, Biscay, Leon, and the Castiles ; thus riding nearly two 
thousand miles on the same horse, and only accompanied by one 
Andalucian servant, who had never before gone out of his native 
province. The same tour was afterwards performed by two 
friends with two servants ; nor did they or ourselves ever meet 
with any real impediments or difficulties, scarcely indeed suf- 
ficient of either to give the flavour of adventure, or the dignity 


of clanger, to the undertaking. It has also been our lot to make 
an extended tour of many months, accompanied by an English 
lady, through Granada, Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia, and 
Arragon, to say nothing of rejjeated excursions througli every 
nook and corner of Andalucia. The result of all this experience, 
combined with that of many friends, who have ridden over the 
Peninsula, enables us to recommend tliis method to the young, 
healthy, and adventurous, as by far the most agreeable plan of 
proceeding ; and, indeed, as we have said, as regards two-thirds 
of the Peninsula, the only practicable course. 

The leading royal roads which connect the capital with the 
principal seaports are, indeed, excellent ; but they are generally 
drawn in a straight line, whereby many of the most ancient 
cities are thus left out, and these, together with sites of battles 
and historical incident, ruins and remains of antiquity, and scenes 
of the greatest natural beauty, are accessible with difficulty, and 
in many cases only on horseback. Spain abounds with wide 
tracts which are perfectly unknown to the Geographical Society. 
Here, indeed, is fresh ground open to all who aspire in these 
threadbare days to book something new ; here is scenery enough 
to fill a dozen portfolios, and subject enough for a score of 
quartos. How many flowers pine unbotanised, how many rocks 
harden ungeologised ; what views are dying to be sketched ; what 
bears and deer to be stalked ; what trout to be caught and 
eaten ; what valleys expand their bosoms, longing to embrace 
their visitor ; what virgin beauties hitherto vmseen await the 
happy member of the Travellers' Club, who in ten days can ex- 
change the bore of eternal Pall Mall for these untrodden sites ; 
and then what an accession of dignity in thus discovering a terra 
incognita, and rivalling Mr. Mungo Park ! Nor is a guide want- 
ing, since our good friend John Murray, the grand monarque of 
Handbooks, has proclaimed from Albemarle Street, // ny a 
plus de Pyrenees. 

As the wnde extent of country which intervenes between the 
radii of the great roads is most indifferently provided with public 
means of inter-communication ; as there is little traffic, and no 
demand for modern conveyances— even mules and horses are not 
always to be procured, and we have always found it best to set 
out on these distant excursions with our own beasts : the com- 


82 HINTS TO TRAVELLERS. [chap. viii. 

fort and certainty of this precaution have been corroborated be- 
yond any doubt by frequent comparisons with the discomforts 
undergone by other persons, who trusted to chance accommoda- 
tions and means of locomotion in ill-provided districts and out- 
of-the-way excursions : indeed, as a general rule, the traveller 
will do well to carry with him everything with which from 
habit he feels that he cannot dispense. The chief object will be 
to combine in as small a space as possible the greatest quantity 
of portable comfort, taking care to select the really essential ; 
for there is no worse mistake than lumbering oneself with things 
that are never wanted. This mode of travelling has not been 
much detailed by the generality of authors, who have rarely gone 
much out of the beaten track, or undertaken a long-continued 
riding tour, and they have been rather inclined to overstate the 
dangers and difficulties of a plan which they have never tried. 
At the same time this plan is not to be recommended to fine 
ladies nor to delicate gentlemen, nor to those who have had a 
touch of rheumatism, or who tremble at the shadows which 
coming gout casts before it. 

Those who have endurance and curiosity enough to face a 
tour in Sicily, may readily set out for Spain ; rails and post- 
horses certainly get quicker over the country ; but the pleasure 
of the remembrance and the benefits derived by travel are com- 
monly in an inverse ratio to the ease and rapidity with which 
tiie journey is performed. In addition to the accurate know- 
ledge which is thus acquired of the country (for there is no map 
like this mode of survejang), and an acquaintance with a con- 
siderable, and by no means the worst portion of its population, a 
riding expedition to a civilian is almost equivalent to serving a 
campaign. It imparts a new life, whicli is adopted on the spot, 
and which soon appears quite natural, from being in perfect 
harmony and fitness with everything around, however strange 
to all previous habits and notions ; it takes tiie conceit out of a 
man for tlie rest of his life — it makes him bear and forbear. It 
is a capital practical school of moral discipline, just as the 
hardiest mariners are nurtured in the roughest seas. Then and 
there Mill be learnt golden rules of patience, perseverance, good 
temper, and good fellowship: the individual man must come out, 
for better or worse. On these occasions, where wealth and rank 


are stripped of the aids and appurtenances of conventional supe- 
riority, a man will draw more on his own resources, moral and 
physical, than on any letter of credit ; his wit will be sharpened 
by invention-suggesting necessity. 

Then and there, when up, about, and abroad, will be shaken 
off dull sloth ; action — Demosthenic action — will be the watch- 
word. The traveller will blot out from his dictionary the fatal 
Spanish phrase of procrastination hy-and-by, a street which 
leads to the house oi never, for '■^ j)or la calle de despues, se va a 
la casa de nuncay Reduced to shift for himself, he will see 
the evil of waste — the folly of improvidence and want of order. 
He will whistle to the winds the paltry excuse of idleness, the 
Spanish " no se puede" " it is impossible." He will soon learn, 
by grappling with difficulties, how surely they are overcome, — 
how soft as silk becomes the nettle when it is sternly grasped, 
which would sting the tender-handed toucli, — how powerful a 
principle of realising the object proposed, is the moral conviction 
that we can and will accomplish it. He will never be scared by 
shadows thin as air, for when one door shuts another opens, 
and he who pushes on arrives. And after all, a dash of 
hardsliip may be endured by those accustomed to loll in easy 
biitzskas, if only for the sake of novelty ; what a new relish 
is given to the palled appetite by a little unknown privation ! — 
hunger being, as Cervantes says, the best of sauces, which, as it 
never is wanting to the poor, is the reason why eating is their 
hug-e delight. 

Again, these sorts of independent expeditions are equally 
conducive to health of body : after the first few days of the new 
fatigue are got over, the frame becomes of iron, " heclto de bronze" 
and the rider, a centaur not fabulous. The living in the pure 
air, the sustaining excitement of novelty, exercise, and constant 
occupation, are all sweetened by the willing heart, which renders 
even labour itself a pleasure ; a new and vigorous life is infused 
into every bone and muscle : early to bed and early to rise, if it 
does not make all brains wise, at least invigorates the gastric 
juices, makes a man forget that he has a liver, that storeiiouse of 
mortal misery — bile, blue pill, and blue devils. This health is 
one of the secrets of the amazing charm which seems inherent to 
this mode of travelling, in spite of all the apparent hardships 


84 DELIGHTS OF A TOUR. [chap. viii. 

with which it is surrounded in the abstract. Oh ! the delight of 
this gipsy, Bedouin, nomade life, seasoned with unfettered liberty ! 
We pitch our tent wherever we please, and there we make our 
home— far from letters " requiring an immediate answer," and 
distant dining-outs, visits, ladies' maids, band-boxes, butlers^ 
bores, and button-holders. 

Escaping from the meshes of the west end of London, we are 
transported into a new world ; every day the out-of-door pan- 
orama is varied ; now the heart is cheered and the countenance 
made glad by. gazing on plains overflowing with milk and honey, 
or laughing with oil and wine, where the orange and citron bask 
in the glorious sunbeams, the palm without the desert, the sugar- 
cane without the slave. Anon we are lost amid the silence of cloud- 
capped glaciers, where rock and granite are tost about like the 
fragments of a broken world, by the wild magnificence of Nature, 
who, careless of mortal admiration, lavishes with proud indif- 
ference her fairest charms where most unseen, her grandest 
forms where most inaccessible. Every day and everywhere we 
are unconsciously funding a stock of treasures and pleasures of 
memory, to be hived in our bosoms like the honey of the bee, to 
cheer and sweeten our after-life, when we settle down like wine- 
dregs in our cask, which, delightful even as in the reality, wax 
stronger as v/e grow in years, and feel that these feats of our 
youth, like sweet youth itself, can never be our portion agciin. 
Of one thing the reader may be assured, — that dear will be to 
him, as is now to us, the remembrance of those wild and weary 
rides through tawny Spain, where hardship was forgotten ere 
undergone : those sweet-aired hills — those rocky crags and 
torrents — those fresh valleys which communicated their own 
freshness to the heart — that keen relish for hard fare, gained and 
seasoned by hunger sauce, which Ude did not invent — those sound 
slumbers on harder couch, earned by fatigue, the downiest of 
pillows — the braced nerves — the spirits light, elastic, and joyous 
— that freedom from care — that health of body and soul which 
ever rewards a close communion with Nature — and the shuffling 
off of the frets and factitious wants of the thick-pent artificial 

Whatever be the number of the party, and however they 
travel, whether on wheels or horseback, admitting even that a 


pleasant friend pro vehiculo est, that is, is better than a post- 
chaise, yet no one should ever dream of making a pedestrian 
tour in Spain. It seldom answers anywhere, as the walker 
arrives at the object of his promenade tired and hungry, just at 
the moment when he ought to be the freshest and most up to 
intellectual pleasures. The deipnosophist Athenseus long ago 
discovered that there was no love for tlie sublime and beautiful 
in an empty stomach, eesthetics yield then to gastronomies, and 
there is no prospect in the world so fine as that of a dinner and a 
nap, or siesta afterwards. The pedestrian in Spain, where 
fleshly comforts arp rare, will soon understand why, in the real 
journals of our Peninsular soldiers, so little attention is paid to 
those objects which most attract the well-provided traveller. 
In cases of bodily hardship, the employment of the mental facul- 
ties is narrowed into the care of supplying mere physical wants, 
rather than expanded into searching for those of a contemplative 
or intellectual gratification ; the footsore and way-worn require, 
according to 

" The unexempt condition 

By which all mortal frailty must subsist, 

Refreshment after toil, ease after pain." 

Walking is the manner by which beasts travel, who have 
therefore four legs ; those bipeds who follow the example of the 
brute animals will soon find that they will be reduced to their 
level in more particidars than they imagined or bargained for. 
Again, as no Spaniard ever walks for pleasure, and none ever 
perform a journey on foot except trampers and beggars, it js 
never supposed possible that any one else should do so except 
from compulsion. Pedestrians therefore are either ill received, 
or become objects of universal suspicion ; for a Spanish autho- 
"ty, judging of others by himself, always takes the v/orst view 
of the stranger, whom he considers as guilty until he proves 
.himself innocent. 

Before the pleasures of a riding tour through Spain are men- 
tioned, a few observations on the choice of companions may be 

Those who travel in public conveyances or with muleteers are 
seldom likely to be left alone. It is the horseman who strikes 
into out-of-the-way, unfrequented districts, who will feel the 


want of that important item — a travelling companion, on which, 
as in choosing a wife, it is easy enough to give advice. The 
patient must, however, administer to himself, and the selection 
will depend, of course, much on the taste and idiosyncracy of 
each individual ; those unfortunate persons who are accustomed 
to have everything their own way, or those, happy ones, who 
are never less alone than when alone, and who possess the alchymy 
of finding resources and amusements in themselves, may perhaps 
find that plan to be the best ; at all events, no company is better 
than bad company : " mas vale ir solo, que mal acompanado." 
A. solitaiy wanderer is certainly the most unfettered as regards 
his notions and motions, " no ten go padre ni madre, ni perro 
que me ladre." He who has " neither father, mother, nor dog to 
bark at him," can read the book of Spain, as it were, in his own 
room, dwelling on what he likes, and skipping what he does not, 
as wdth a red Murray. 

Every coin has, however, its reverse, and every rose its thorn. 
ITotwithstanding these and other obvious advantages, and the 
tendency that occupation and even hardships have to drive away 
imaginary evils, this freedom will be purchased by occasional 
moments of depression ; a dreary, forsaken feeling will steal over 
the most cheerful mind. It is not good for man to be alone ; 
and this social necessity never comes home stronger to tlie warm 
heart than during a long-contiiuaed solitary ride through the 
rarely visited districts of the Peninsula. The sentiment is in 
perfect harmony with th.e abstract feeling wliich is inspired by 
tiie present condition of unhappy Spain, fallen from her high 
estate, and blotted almost from tlie'map of Europe. Silent, sad, 
and lonely is her face, on which tiie stranger will too often gaze ; 
her hedgeless, treeless tracts of corn-field, bounded only by the 
low horizon ; her uninhabited, uncultivated plains, abandoned 
to the wild flower and the bee, and which are rendered still more 
melancholy by ruined castle, or village, which stand out bleach- 
ing skeletons of a former vitality. The dreariness of this 
abomination of desolation is increased by the singular absence of 
singing birds, and the presence of the vulture, the eagle, and 
lonely l)irds of prey. Tlie wanderer, far from home and friends, 
feels doubly a stranger in this strange land, where no smile greets 
his coming, no tear is shed at his going, — where his memory 


passes away, like that of a guest who tarrieth but a day, — where 
nothing of human life is seen, where its existence only is inferred 
by the rude wooden cross or stone-piled cairn, which marks the 
unconsecrated grave of some traveller who has been waylaid 
there alone, murdered, and sent to his account with all his im- 
perfections on his head. 

However confidently we have relied on past experience that 
such would not be our fate, yet these sorts of Spanish milestones 
marked witli memento mori, are awkward evidences that the 
thing is not altogether impossible. It makes a single gentleman, 
whose life is not insured, not only trust to Santiago, but keep 
his powder dry, and look every now and then if his percussion 
cap fits. On these occasions tlie falling in with any of the no- 
made half-Bedouin natives is a sort of godsend ; their society is 
quite different from that of a regular companion, for better or 
worse until death us do part, as it is casual, and may be taken up 
or dropped at convenience. The habits of all Spaniards wlien 
on the road are remarkably gregarious ; a common fear acts as a 
cement, while the more they are in number the merrier. It is 
hail ! well met, fellow-traveller ! and the being glad to see each 
other is an excellent introduction. The sight of passengers 
bound our way is like speaking a strange sail on the Atkmtic, 
Hola Camara 1 ship a-hoy. This predisposition tends to make 
all travellers write so much and so handsomely of the lower 
classes of Spaniards, not indeed more than they deserve, for 
they are a fine, noble race. Something of this arises, because 
on such occasions all parties meet on an equality ; and this 
levelling eflfect, perhaps unperceived, induces many a foreigner, 
however proud and reserved at home, to unbend, and that un- 
affectedly, lie treats these accidental acquaintances quite 
differently from the manner in which he would venture to treat 
the lower orders of his own country, who, probably, if conciliated 
by the same condescension of manner, would appear in a more 
amiable light, although they are inferior to the Spaniard in his 
Oriental goodness of manner, his perfect tact, his putting 
himself and others into their proper place, without either self- 
degradation or vulgar assumption of social equality or superior 
physical powers. 

A long solitary ride is hardly to be recommended ; it is not 


88 FRIENDSHIPS. [chap, vin. 

fair to friends who have been left anxious behind, nor is it 
prudent to expose oneself, without help, to the common accidents 
to wliich a horse and his rider are always liable. Those who 
have a friend with whom they feel they can venture to go in 
double harness, had better do so. It is a severe test, and the 
trial becomes greater in proportion as hardsliips abound and 
accommodations are scanty — causes which sour the milk of human 
kindness, and prove indifferent restorers of stomach or temper. 
It is on these occasions, on a large journey and in a small venta, 
that a man finds out what his friend really is made of. While 
in the more serious necessities of danger, sickness, and need — 
a friend is one indeed, and the one thing wanting, with whom we 
share our last morsel and cup gladly. The salt of good fellow- 
ship, if it cannot work miracles as to quantity, converts the small 
loaf into a respectable abstract feed, by the zest and satisfaction 
with which it flavours it. 

Nothing, moreover, cements friendships for the future like 
having made one of these conjoint rambles, provided it did not 
end in a quarrel. The mere fact of having travelled at all in 
Spain has a peculiarity which is denied to the more hackneyed 
countries of Europe. When we are introduced to a person who 
has visited these spell-casting sites, we feel as if we knew him 
already. There is a sort of freemasonry in having done some- 
thins" in common, which is not in common with the world at 
large. Those who are about to qualify themselves for this ex- 
clusive quality will do well not to let the party exceed five in 
number, three masters and two servants ; two masters with two 
servants are perhaps more likely to be better accommodated ; a 
third person, however, is often of use in trying journeys, as an 
arbiter elegantiarum et rixarum, a referee and arbitrator ; for in 
the best regulated teams it must happen tliat some one will 
occasionally start, gib, or bolt, when the majority being against 
him brings the offender to his proper senses. Four eyes, again, 
see better than two, " mas ven cuatro ojos que dos." 

By attending to a few simple rules, a tour of some months' 
duration, and over thousands of miles, may be performed on one 
and the same horse, who with his rider will at thfc end of the 
journey be neither sick nor sorry, but in such capita) condition 
as to be ready to start again. We presume that the time will 


be chosen when the days are long and Nature has thrown aside 
her wintry garb. Fine weather is the joy of the wayfarer's 
soul, and nothing can be more different than tlie aspect of 
Spanish villages in good or in bad weather ; as in the East, 
during wintry rains they are the acmes of mud and misery, but 
let the sun shine out, and all is gilded. It is the smile which 
lights up the habitually sad expression of a Spanish woman's 
face. The blessed beam cheers poverty itself, and by its stimu- 
lating, exhilarating action on the system of man, enables him to 
buffet asrainst the moral evils to which countries the most 
favoured by climate seem, as if it were from compensation, to 
be more exposed than those where the skies are dull, and the 
winds bleak and cold. 

As in our cavalry regiments, where real service is required, a 
perfect animal is preferred, a rider should choose a mare rather 
tlian a gelding ; the use of entire horses is, however, so general 
in Spain, that one of such had better be selected than a mare. The 
day's journey will vary according to circumstances from twenty- 
five to forty miles. The start should be made before daybreak, 
and the horse well fed at least an hour before the journey is com- 
menced, during which Spaniards, if they can, go to church, for 
they say that no time is ever lost on a journey by feeding horses 
and men and hearing masses, misa y cehada no estorhan Jornada. 

The hours of starting, of course, depend on the distance and 
the district. The sooner the better, as all who wish to cheat the 
devil must get up very early. " Quien al demonio quiere en- 
gahar, muy iempi-ano levantarse ha." It is a great thing for 
the traveller to reach his night quarters as soon as he can, for 
the first comers are the best served : borrow therefore an hour 
of the morning rather than from the night ; and that hour, if you 
lose it at starting, you will never overtake in the day. Again, in 
the summer it is both agreeable and profitable to be under weigh 
and off at least an hour or two before sunrise, as the heat soon 
gets insupportable, and the stranger is exposed to the tabardillo, 
the coup de soleil, whicli, even in a smaller degree, occasions 
more ill health in Spain than is generally imagined, and espe- 
cially by the English, who brave it either from ignorance or 
foolhardiness. The head should be well protected with a silk 
handkerchief, tied after a turban flishion, which all the natives 

90 TRAVELLING PACE. [chap. viii. 

do ; in addition to which we always lined the inside of our hats 
with thickly doubled brown paper. In Andalucia, during 
summer, the muleteers travel by night, and rest during the day- 
heat, which, however, is not a satisfactory method, except for 
those who wish to see nothing. We have never adopted it. 
The early mornings and cool afternoons and evenings are infi- 
nitely preferable ; while to the artist the glorious sunrises and 
sunsets, and the marking of mountains, and definition of forms 
from tlie long shadows, are magnificent beyond all conception. 
In these almost tropical countries, when the sun is liigh, the 
effect of shadow is lost, and everything looks flat and unpic- 

The journey should be divided into two portions, and the 
longest should be accomplished the first : the pace should 
average about five miles an hour, it being an object not to keep 
the animal unnecessarily on liis legs: he may be trotted gently, 
and even up easy hills, but sliould always be walked down them ; 
nay, if led, so mucli the better, which benefits botli horse and 
rider. It is surprising how a steady, continued slow pace gets 
over the ground : Chi va piano, va sano, e lontano, says the 
Italian ; paso a paso va lejos, step by step goes far, responds the 
Castilian. The end of the journey each day is settled before 
starting, and there the traveller is sure to ari'ive with the even- 
ing. Spaniards never fidget themselves to get quickly to places 
ivhere nobody is expecting them : nor is there any good to be 
got in trying to hurry man or beast in Spain ; you might as 
well think of hurrying the Court of Chancery. The animals 
should be rested, if possible, every fourth day, and not used 
during halts in towns, unless they exceed three days' sojourn. 

On arriving at every halting-place, look first at the feet, and pick 
out any pebbles or dirt, and examine the nails and shoes carefully, 
to see that nothing is loose ; let this inspection become a habit ; 
do not wash the feet too soon, as the sudden chill sometimes pro- 
duces fever in them : when they are cool, clean them and grease 
the hoof well ; after that you may wash as much as you please. 
The best thing, however, is to feed your horse at once, before 
thinking of his toilet ; the march will have given an appetite, 
while the fatigue requires immediate restoration. If a horse is 
to be worried with cleaning, &c., he often loses heart and gets 


off his feed : he may be rubbed down when he has done eating, 
and his bed should be made up as for night, the stable darkened, 
and the animal left quite quiet, and the longer the better : feed 
him well again an hour before starting for the afternoon stage, 
and treat him on coming in exactly as you did in the morning. 
The food must be regulated by the work : when that is severe, 
give corn with both hands, and stint the hay and other lumber : 
what you want is to concentrate support by quality, not quantity. 
The Spaniard will tell you that one mouthful of beef is worth 
ten of potatoes. If your horse is an Englisli one, it must be re- 
membered that eight poiuids' weight of barley is equal to ten of 
oats, as containing less husk and more mucilage or starch, which 
our horse-dealers know when they want to 7nake up a liorse ; 
overfeeding a horse in the hot climate of Spain, like overfeeding 
his rider, renders both liable to fevers and sudden inflammatory 
attacks, which are much more prevalent in Gibraltar than else- 
where in Spain, because our countrymen will go on exactly as if 
they were at home. 

At all events, feed your horse well with something or other, or 
your Spanish squire will rain proverbs on you, like Sancho 
Panza ; the belly must be filled with hay or straw, for it in 
reality carries the feet, O paja a heno el vientre lleno — tripas 
llevan a pies, and so forth. The Spaniards when on a journey 
allow their horses to drink copiously at every stream, saying that 
there is no juice like that of flints ; and indeed they set the 
example, for they are all down on their bellies at every brook, 
swilling water, according to the proverb, like an ox, and wine 
when they can get it, like a king. If therefore you are riding a 
Spanish horse which has been accustomed to this continual 
tippling, let him drink, otherwise he will be fevered. If tlie 
horse has been treated in the English fashion, give him his 
water only after his meals, otherwise he will break out into 
weakening sweats. Should the animal ever arrive distressed, a 
tepid gruel, made with oatmeal or even flour, will comfort him 
much. At nightfall stop the feet with wet tow, or witli horse 
dung, for tiiat of cows will seldom be to be had in Spain, where 
goats furnish milk, and Dutchmen butter. 

Let the feet be constantly attended to ; the horse having twice 
as many as his rider, requires double attention, and of what use 

92 THE HORSE'S FOOT. [chap. viii. 

to a traveller is a quadruped that has not a leg to go upon ? 
This is well known to those commercial gentlemen, who are the 
only persons now-a-days in England who make riding journeys. 
It is the shoe that makes or mars the horse, and no wise man, in 
Spain or out, who has got a four-footed hobby, or three half- 
crowns, should delay sending to Longman's for that admirable 
" Miles on the Horse's Foot." " Every knight errant," says Don 
Quixote, " ought to be able to shoe his own Rosmcmte himself." 
Rosin is pure Arabic for a hackney — at least he should know how 
this calceolation ought to be done. As a general rule, always 
take your quadruped to the forge, where the shoes can be fitted to 
his feet, not the feet to ready-made shoes ; and if you value the 
comfort, the extension of life and service of your steed— fasten 
the fore shoes with five 7iails at most in the outside, and with 
two only in the inside, and those near the toe ; do not in mercy 
fix by nails all round an unyielding rim of dead iron, to an expand- 
ing living hoof; remember also always to take with you a spare 
set of shoes, with nails and a hammer — for the want of a nail the 
shoe was lost ; for the want of a shoe the rider was tost. In 
many parts of Spain, where there are no fine modern roads, you 
might almost do without any shoes at all, as the ancients did, 
and is done in parts of Mexico ; but no unprotected hoof can stand 
the constant wear and tear, the filing of a macadamised highway. 
The horse will probably be soon in such condition as to want 
no more physic than his rider; a lump, however, of rock-salt, 
and a bit of chalk put at night into his manger, answers the 
same purposes as Epsoms and soda do to the master. You 
should wash out the long tail and mane, which is the glory of a 
Spanish horse, as fine hair is to a woman, with soda and water ; 
the alkali combining with the animal grease forms a most 
searching detergent. A grand remedy for most of the accidents 
to Avhich horses are liable on a journey, such as kicks, cuts, 
strains, &c., is a constant fomentation with hot water, which 
should be done under the immediate superintendence of the 
master, or it will be either done insufficiently, or not done at 
all ; hot water, according to the groom genus, having been 
created principally as a recipient of something stronger. A 
crupper and breastplate are almost indispensable, from the steep 
ascents and descents in the mountains. The mosquero, the fly- 


flapper, is a great comfort to the horse, as, being in perpetual 
motion, and hanging between his eyes, it keeps off the flies ; the 
head-stall, or night halter, never should be removed from the 
bridle, but be rolled up during the day, and fastened along the 
side of the cheek. The long tail is also rolled up when the ways 
are miry, just as those of our blue jackets and horse-guards used 
to be. 

94 THE RIDER'S COSTUME. [chap. ix. 


The Rider's Costume — Alforjas: their contents — The Bota, and How 
to use it — Pig Skins and Borracha — Spanish Money — Onzas and smaller 

The rider's costume and accoutrements require consideration ; 
his great object should be to pass in a crowd, either unnoticed, 
or to be taken for " one of us," Vno de Nosotros, and a member 
of the Iberian family — de la Familia : this is best effected by 
adopting the dress, that is usually worn by the natives when they 
travel on horseback, or journey by any of their national convey- 
ances, among which Anglo-Franco mails and diligences are not 
yet to be reckoned ; all classes of Spaniards, on getting outside 
the town-gate, assume country habits, and eschew the long-tailed 
coats and civilization of the city ; they drop pea-jackets and 
foreign fashions, which would only attract attention, and expose 
the wearers to the ridicule or coarser marks of consideration from 
the peasantry, muleteers, and other gentry, who rule on the 
road, hate novelties, and hold fast to the ways and jackets of 
their forefathers ; the best hat, therefore, is the common som- 
brero calanes, which resemble those worn at Astley'sby banditti, 
being of a conical shape, is edged with black velvet, ornamented 
with silken tufts, and looks equally well on a cockney from 
London, or on a squire from Devonshire. The jacket should be 
the universal fur Zamarra, which is made of black sheepskin, in 
its ordinary form, and of lambskin for those who can pay ; a 
sash round the waist should never be forgotten, being most useful 
both in reality and metaplior : it sustains the loins, and keeps off 
tlie dangerous colics of Spain, by maintaining an equable heat 
over the abdomen ; hence, to be Homerically well girt is half 
the battle for the Peninsular traveller. 

The capa the cloak, or the manta a striped plaid, and saddle- 
bags, the Alforjas, are absolute essentials, and should be strapped 
on the pommel of the saddle, as being there less heating to the 
horse tlian when placed on his flanks, and being in front, they 


are more handy for sudden use, since in the mountains and 
valleys, the rider is constantly exposed to sudden variations of 
wind and weather ; when ^olus and Sol contend for his cloak, 
as in ^sop's Fables, and the buckets of heaven are emptied on 
him as soon as the god of fire thinks him sufficiently baked. 

These saddle-bags are most classical, Oriental, and convenient ; 
they indeed constitute the genus bagsman^ and have given their 
name to our riding travellers ; they are the Sarcince of Cato the 
Censor, the Bulgce of Lucilius, who made an epigram thereon : — 

" Cum bulgd coenat, dormit, lavat, omnis in una. 
Spes hominis hulga hac devincta est coctera vita :" 

which, as these indispensables are quite as necessary to the 
modern Spaniard, may be thus translated : — 

" A good roomy bag delighteth a Roman, 

He is never ■without this appendage a minute ; 
In bed, at the bath, at his meals, — in short no man 
Should fail to stow life, hope, and self away in it." 

The countrymen of Sancho Panza, wlien on tlie road, make 
the same use of their wallets as the Romans did ; they still (the 
washing excepted) live and die with these bags, in which their 
hearts are deposited with their bread and cheese. 

These Spanish alforjas, in name and appearance, are the 
Moorish al horeh. (The F and H, like the B and V, X and J, 
are almost equivalent, and are used indiscriminately in Spanish 
cacography.) They are generally composed of cotton and 
. worsted, and are embroidered in gaudy colours and patterns ; 
the correct thing is to have the owner's name worked in on the 
edge, which ought to be done by the delicate hand of his beloved 
mistress. Those made at Granada are very excellent ; the 
Moorish, especially tliose from Morocco, are ornamented with 
an infinity of small tassels. Peasants, when dismounted, mendi- 
cant monks, when foraging for their convents, sling their alforjas 
over their shoulders when they come into villages. 

Among the contents which most people will find it convenient 
to carry in the right-hand bag, as the easiest to be got at, a pair 
of blue gauze wire spectacles or goggles will be found useful, as 
ophtlialmia is very common in Spain, and particularly in the cal- 
cined central i)lains. The constant glare is unrelieved by any 
verdure, the air is dry, and the clouds of dust highly irritating 


from being impregnated with nitre. The best remedy is to 
bathe the eyes frequently with hot water, and never to rub them 
when inflamed, except with the elbows, los ojos con los codos. 
Spaniards never jest with their eyes or faith ; of the two perhaps 
they are seriously fondest of the former, not merely when spark- 
ling beneath the arched eyebrow of the dark sex, but when set 
in their own heads. " I love thee like my eyes," is quite a 
hackneyed form of affection ; nor, however wratiiful and impreca- 
tory, do they under any circumstance express the slightest 
uncharitable wishes in regard to the visual organs of their bit- 
terest foe. 

The whole art of the alforjas is the putting into them what you 
want the most often, and in the most handy and accessible place. 
Keep here, therefore, a supply of small money for the halt and 
the blind, for the piteous cases of human suffering and poverty 
by which the traveller's eye will be pained in a land where soup- 
dispensing monks are done away with, and assistant new poor 
law commissioners not yet appointed ; such charity from God's 
purse, holsa de Dios, never impoverishes that of man, and a 
cheerful giver, however opposed to modern political economists, 
is commended in that old-fashioned book called the Bible. The 
left half of the alforjas may be apportioned to the writing and 
dressing cases, and the smaller each are the better. 

Food for tlie mind must not be neglected. The travelling 
library, like companions, should be select and good ; libros y 
amiffos pocos y hitenos. The duodecimo editions are the best, as 
a large heavy book kills horse, rider, and reader. Books are a 
matter of taste ; some men like Bacon, others prefer Pickwick ; 
stow away at all events a pocket edition of the Bible, Shakspere, 
and Don Quixote : and if the advice of dear Dr. .Johnson be 
worth following, one of those books that can be taken in the 
hand, and to the fire-side. Martial, a grand authority on Spanish 
hand-books, recommended " such sized companions on a long 
journey." Quartos and folios, said he, may be left at home in 
the book-case — 

" Scrinia da magnis, me manus una capit." 
Here also keep the passport, that indescribable nuisance and 



curse of continental travel, to which a ft-ee-born Briton never 
can get reconciled, and is apt to neglect, whereby he puts him- 
self in the power of the worst and most troublesome people on 
earth. Passports in Spain now in some degree supply the In- 
quisition, and have been embittered by vexatious forms borrowed 
from bureaucratic France. 

Having thus disposed of these matters on the front bow of his 
saddle, to which we always added a bota — the pocket-pistol of 
Hudibras — one word on this Bota, which is as necessary to the 
rider as a saddle to his horse. This article, so Asiatic and 
Spanish, is at once the bottle and the glass of the people of the 
Peninsula wlien on the road, and is perfectly unlike the vitreous 
crockery and pewter utensils of Great Britain. A Spanish 
woman would as soon think of going to church without her fan, 
or a Spanish man to a fair without his knife, as a traveller without 
his bota. Ours, the faithful, long-tried comforter of many a dry 
road, and honoured now like a relic, is hung up a votive offering 
to the Iberian Bacchus, as the mariners in Hoi'ace suspended 
their damp garments to the deity who had delivered them from 
the dangers of water. Its skin, now shrivelled with age and with 
fruitless longings for wine, is still redolent of the ruby fluid, 
whether the generous Valdepenas or the rich riuo de Toro : and 
refreshing to our nostrils is even an occasional smell at its red- 
stained orifice. There the racy wine-perfume lingers, and brings 
water into the mouth, it may be into the eyelid. What a dream 
of Spanish odours, good, bad, and indifferent, is awakened by its 
well-known borracha ! — what recollections, breathing the aroma 
of the balmy south, crowd in; of aromatic wastes, of leagues of 
thyme, whence Flora sends forth advertisements to her tiny bee- 
customer ; of churches, all incense ; of the goats and monks, 
long-bearded and odoriferous ; of cities whose steam of garlic, 
ollas, oil, and tobacco rises up to tlie heavens, mingled with the 
thou-sand and one other continental sweets which assail a man's 
nose, whether he lands at Calais or Cadiz ! There hangs our 
smelling-bottle bota, now a pleasure of memory ; it has had its 
day, and is never again to be filled in torrid, thirsty Spain, nor 
emptied, which is better. 

This Bota, from whence the terms Butt of sherry, bouteille, 
and bottle are derived, is the most ancient Oriental leathern bottle 


98 THE BOTA. [chap, ix 

alluded to in Job xxxii. 19, " My belly ready to burst like new- 
bottles ;" and in the parable, Matt. ix. 17, about the old ones, the 
force and point of which is entirely lost by our word b>ttle, which 
being- made of glass, is not liable to become useless by age like 
one made of leather. Such a " bottle of water " wis the last 
among the few things whicli Abraham gave to Hag.r, when he 
turned out the mother of the Arabians, whose descendaits brought 
its usage into Spain. The shape is like that of a lage pear or 
shot-pouch, and it contains from two to five quarts. The narrow 
neck is mounted with a turned wooden cup, from which the 
contents are drunk. The way to use it is thus — grpp the neck 
with tlie left hand and bring the rim of the cup tcthe mouth, 
then gradually raise the bag with the other hand till he wine, in 
obedience to hydrostatic laws, rises to its level, and feeps always 
full in the cup without trouble to the mouth. The ;ravity with 
which this is done, the long, slow, sustained, Sancho-ke devotion 
of the thirsty Spaniards when offered a drink out of anther man's 
bota, is very edifying, and is as deep as the sigh ofdelight and 
gratitude with which, when unable to imbibe more, he precious 
skin is returned. No drop of the divine content is wasted, 
except by some newly-arrived bunuler, who, by li'ing up the 
bottom first, inundates liis chin. The hole in the ap is made 
tight by a woodsn spigot, which again is perforated ,nd stopped 
with a small peg. Those who do not want to tae a copious 
draught do not pull out the spigot, but merely theittle peg of 
it ; the wine then flows out in a thin thread. ThOatalonians 
and Aragonese generally drink in this way ; they nor touch tiie 
vessel with their lips, but hold it up at a distancabove, and 
pilot the stream into their mouths, or rather undejaws. It is 
much easier for those who have had no practice to >ur the wine 
into their necks than into their mouths, but thr drinkinsr- 
bottles are made with a long narrow spout, ai are called 
" PoiTones." 

The Bota must not be confounded with the ^'Orracha or 
Cuei'O, the wine-skin of Spain, which is the entire.'^d answers 
the purpose of the barrel elsewhere. The bota is le retail re- 
ceptacle, the cuero is tlie wholesale one. It is theenuine pig's 
skin, the adoration of wiiich disputes in the Peniula with the 
cigar, the dollar, and even llie worship of the Virgi; Tlie shops 


of the makers are to be seen in most Spanish towns ; in them 
long lines of the unclean animal's blown out hides are strung up 
like sheep carcases in our butchers' shambles. The tanned and 
manufactured article preserves the form of the pig, feet and all, 
with the exception of one : the skin is turned inside out, so that 
the hairy coat lines the interior, which, moreover, is carefully 
pitched like a ship's bottom, to prevent leaking ; hence the 
peculiar flavour, which partakes of resin and the hide, which is 
called the horracha, and is peculiar to most Spanish wines, sherry 
excepted, which being made by foreigners, is kept in foreign 
casks, as we shall presently show when we touch on '' good 
sherris sack." A drunken man, who is rarer in Spain than in 
England, is called a horracho ; the term is not complimentary. 
These cueros, when filled, are suspended in ventas and elsewhere, 
and thus economise cellarage, cooperage, and bottling ; and 
such were the bigbellied monsters Avhich Don Quixote attacked. 

As the bota is always near every Spaniard's mouth who can 
get at one, all classes being ever ready, like Sancho, to give "a 
thousand kisses," not only to his own legitimate bota, but t(j that 
of his neighbour, which is coveted more than wife : therefore no 
prudent traveller will ever journey an inch in Spain without 
getting one, and when he has, will never keep it empty, espe- 
cially when he falls in with good wine. Every man's Spanish 
attendant will always find out, by instinct, where the best wine 
is to be had ; good wine neither needs bush, herald, nor crier ; in 
these matters, our experience of them tallies with their proverb, 
" mas vale vino maldito, que no agua bendita" " cursed bad 
wine is better than holy water ;" at the same time, in their 
various scale of comparisons, there is good wine, better wine, 
and best wine, but no such thing as bad « ine ; of good wine, 
the Spaniards are almost as good judges as of good water ; they 
rarely mix them, because they say that it is spoiling two good 
things. Vino 3Ioro, or Moorish wine, is by no means indicative 
of uncleanness, or other heretical imperfections implied generally 
by that epithet ; it simply means, that it is pure from never 
having been baptized with water, for which the Asturians, who 
keep small chandlers' shops, are so infamous, that they are said, 
from inveterate habit, to adulterate even vAater ; aguan el agua. 

It is a great mistake to suppose, because Spaniards are seldom 

II 2 

100 MONEY. [chap. ix. 

seen drunk, and because when on a journey they drink as much 
water as their beasts, that they have any Oriental dislike to wine ; 
the rule is " Agua como huey, y vifio como Rey" " to drink 
water like an ox, and wine like a king." The extent of the given 
quantity of wine which they will always swallow, rather suggests 
that their habitual temperance may in some degree be connected 
more with their poverty than with their will. The way to many 
an honest breast lies through the belly in this classical land, 
where the tutelar of butlers still keeps the key of their cellars 
and hearts — aperit praecordia Bacchus : nor is their Oriental 
blessing unconnected with some " savoury food " previously ad- 
ministered. And independently of the very obvious reasons 
which good wine does and ought to afford for its own consump- 
tion, the irritating nature of Spanish cookery provides a never- 
failing inducement. The constant use of the savoury class of con- 
diments and of pepper is very heating, " la pimienta escalientaJ' 
A salt-fish, ham and sausage diet creates thirst ; a good rasher of 
bacon calls loudly for a corresponding long and strong pull at 
the " bota" " a torresno de tocino, huen golpe de vino." 

This digression on botas will be pardoned by all who, having 
ridden in Spain, know the absolute necessity of them. The 
traveller will of course remember the advice given by the rogue 
of Ventero to Don Quixote to take shirts and money with him. 
" Put money in thy purse" said also honest lago, for an empty 
one is a beggarly companion in the Peninsula as elsewhere. 
There is no getting to Rome or to Santiago if the pilgrim's scrip 
be scanty, or his mule lame : Camino de Roma, ni mula coja ni 

Practically it may be said, that there is no paper money in 
Spain. Notes may be taken in some of the larger cities, but in 
the provinces the value of a man in office's promise to pay on 
paper, is not considered by the shrewd natives to be actually 
equal to cash ; while they will readily give these notes to 
foreigners, they prefer for their own use the old-fashioned repre- 
sentatives of wealth, gold and silver, towards the smallest fraction 
of which they have the largest possible veneration. Accounts are 
usually kept in reales de vellon of royal bullion ; and these are 
subdivided into maravedis, the ancient coin of the Peninsula : 
there are minor fractions even of farthings, consisting in material 

cuAF. IX.] MONEY, 101 

of infinitesimal bits of any metals, melted church bells, old can- 
non, &c., with names and values unknown in our happy land, 
where not much is to be got for a mite ; in Spain, where cheap- 
ness of earth-produce is commensurate with poverty, anything, 
even to an old button, goes for a maraiedi, and we have found 
that in changing a dollar by way of experiment into small coppere 
in the market at Seville, among the multitudinous specimens of 
Spanish mints of all periods, Moorish and even Roman coins 
were to be met with, and still current. 

The dollar, or Duro, of Spain is well known all over the 
world, being the form under which silver has been generally 
exported from the Spanish colonies of South America. It is the 
Italian " Colonato," so called because the arms of Spain are 
supported between tlie two pillars of Hercules. The coinage is 
slovenly : it is the weight of the metal, not the form, which is 
looked to by the Spaniard, who, like the Turk, is not so clever 
a workman or mechanist as devout worshipper of bullion. Fer- 
dinand VII. continued for a long while to strike money with 
his father's head, having only had the lettering altered : thus 
early Trajans exhibit the head of Nero. When the Cortes en- 
tered Madrid after trss Duke's vicrory at Salamanca, they 
patriotically prohibited the currency of all coins bearing the 
head of the intrusive Joseph ; yet his dollars being cliietly made 
out of stolen church plate, gilt and ungilt, were, although those 
of an usurper, intrinsically worth more than the legitimate duro ; 
this was a too severe test for the loyalty of those whose real king 
and god is cash. Such a decree was wortliy of senators w ho were 
busier employed in expelling French tropes from their dictionary 
than French troops from their country. The wiser Chinese 
take Ferdinand's and Joseph's dollars alike, calling them both 
" devil's head" money. These bad prejudices against good coin 
have now given way to the march of intellect ; nay, the five- 
franc piece with Louis-Philippe's clever head on it bids fair to 
oust the pillared Duro. The silver of the mines of Murcia is 
exported to France, where it is coined, and sent back in the 
manufactured shape. France thus gains a handsome per centage, 
and habituates the people to her image of power, whicli comes 
recommended to them in the most acceptable likeness of current 

UNlVE"r?5T-:y ot^ ^ 


102 GOLD COINAGE. [chap, tx. 

Ill Spain cash, ambrosial cash, rules the court, the camp, the 
grove ; hence the extraordinary credit of three millions recently- 
required for tlie secret service expenses of the Tuileries, and 
official enthusiasm and unanimity secured thereby in the Mont- 
pensier purchase. The whole decalogue is condensed at Madrid 
into one commandment. Love God as represented on earth not by 
his vicar the Pope, but by his lord-lieutenant, Don Ducat. 

" El primero es amar Don Dinero, 
Dios es omnipotente, Don Dinero as su lugarteniente." 

Thus grandees and men in Spanish offices, both governmental and 
printing ones, have preferred the other day five-franc pieces to 
the ribbons of the Legion of honor ; nor, considering the swindlers 
on whom this badge of Austerlitz has been prostituted, were 
these worthy Castilians much out in their calculations, if there 
be any truth in the catechism of FalstaiF. 

Tlie gold coinage is magnificent, and worthy of the country 
and period from which Europe was supplied with the precious 
metals. The largest piece, the ounce, " 07iza," is worth sixteen 
dollars, or about 3/. Qs. ; and while it puts to shame the dimi- 
nutive Napoleons of France and sovereigns of England, tells the 
tale of Spain's former wealth, and contrasts strangely with her 
present poverty and scarcity of specie : these large coins have 
however been so sweated, not by the sun, but by Jews, foreio-n 
and domestic, so clipped worse than Spanish mules or French 
poodles, that they seldom retain their proper weight and value. 
They are accordingly looked upon every where with suspicion ; 
a shopkeeper, in a big town, brings out his scales like Shylock, 
while in a village shrugs, ajos, and negative expressions are your 
change ; nor, even if the natives are satisfied tiiat they are not 
light, can sixteen dollars be often met with, nor do those who 
have so much ready money by them ever wish tliat the fact 
should be generally known. Spaniards, like the Orientals, have 
a dread of being supposed to have money in their possession ; it 
exposes them to be plundered by robbers of all kinds, professional 
or le^al ; by the " alcalde" or village authority, and the " escri- 
bano" the attorney, to say nothing of Seiior Mon's tax- 
gatherer ; for the quota of contributions, many of which are 
apportioned among the inhabitants themselves of each district, 


falls heaviest on those who have, or are supposed to have, the 
most ready money. 

The lower classes of Spaniards, like the Orientals, are gene- 
rally avaricious. They see that wealth is safety and power, 
where everything is venal ; the feeling of insecurity makes them 
eager to invest what they have in a small and easily concealed 
bulk, " en lo que no hahla" " in that which does not tell tales." 
Consequently, and in self-defence, they are much addicted to 
hoarding. The idea of finding hidden treasures, whicli prevails 
in Spain as in the East, is based on some grounds ; for in every 
country which has been much exposed to foreign invasions, civil 
wars, and domestic misrule, where tliere were no safe modes of 
investment, in moments of danger property was converted into 
gold or jewels and concealed with singular ingenuity. The mis- 
trust which Spaniards entertain of each other often extends, when 
cash is in the case, even to the nearest relations, to wife and 
children. Many a treasure is thus lost from the accidental death 
of the hider, who, dying without a sign, carries his secret to the 
grave, adding thereby to the sincere grief of his widow and heir. 
One of the old vulgar superstitions in Spain is an idea that those 
who were born on a Good Friday, the day of mourning, were 
gifted with a power of seeing into the earth and of discovering 
hidden treasures. One place of concealment has alwa3's been 
under the bodies in graves ; the hiders have trusted to the dead 
to defend what the quick could not : tiiis accounts for the uni- 
versal desecration of tombs and cliurcliyards during Bonaparte's 
invasion. The Gauls growled like gowls amid the churchyards ; 
they despoiled the mouldering corpses of tlie last pledge left by 
weeping aflfection ; or, as Burke observed of their domestic doings, 
they unplumbed the dead to make missiles of destruction against 
the living. These hordes, in their hurried flight before the 
advancing Duke, also hid mucli of their ill-gotten gains, which 
to this day are hunted after. Who has forgotten Borrow's gra- 
phic picture of the treasure-seeking ]\Iol ? At this very moment 
the autliorities of San Sebastian are narrowly superintending the 
diggings of an old Frenchwoman, to whom some dying thief at 
home has revealed the secret of a buried kettle full of gold 

104 CONCEALMENT OF CASH. [chap. ix. 

Having provided the " Spanish," those metallic sinevi^s of war, 
which also make the mare go in peace, a prudent master, if he 
intends to be really the master, will hold the purse himself, and, 
moreover, will keep a sharp eye on it, for the jingle of coin 
dispels even a Spanish siesta, and causes many a sleepless day to 
every listener, from the beggar to the queen mother. 



Spanish Servants: their Character — Travelling Groom, Cook, and Valet. 

Don Quixote's first thought, after having determined to ride 
forth into Spain, was to get a horse ; his second was to secure 
a squire ; and as the narrative of his journey is still an excellent 
guide-book for modern travellers, his example is not to be 
slighted. A good Sancho Panza will on the whole be found to 
be a more constant comfort to a knight-errant than even a Dul- 
cinea. To secure a really good servant is of the utmost con- 
sequence to all who make out-of-the-way excursions in the 
Peninsula ; for, as in the East, he becomes often not only cook, 
but interpreter and companion to his master. It is therefore of 
great importance to get a person with whom a man can ramble 
over these wild scenes. The so doing ends, on the part of the 
attendant, in an almost canine friendship ; and the Spaniard, 
when the tour is done, is broken-hearted, and ready to leave his 
home, horse, ass, and wife, to follow his master, like a dog, to 
the world's-end. Nine times out of ten it is the master's fault 
if he has bad servants : tel maltre tel valet. Al amo imprudente, 
el mozo neyligente. He must begin at once, and exact the per- 
formance of their duty ; the only way to get them to do any- 
thing is, as the Duke said, to " frighten them," to " take a 
decided line." It is very difficult to make them see the im- 
portance of detail and of doing exactly what they are told, which 
they will always endeavour to shirk when they can ; their task 
must be clearly pointed out to them at starting, and the earliest 
and smallest infractions, either in commission or omission, at 
once and seriously noticed, the moral victory is soon gained. 
The example of the masters, if they be active and orderly, is the 
best lesson to servants ; mucho sabe el rato, pero mas el gato ; 
the rats are well enough, but the cats are better. Acliilles, Pa- 
troclus, and the Homeric heroes, were their own cooks ; and 


many a man who, like Lord Blayney, may not be a hero, will be 
none the worse for following the epical example, in a Spanish 
venta: at all events a good servant, who is up to his work, and 
will work, is indeed a jewel ; and on these, as on other occasions, 
he deserves to be well treated. Those who make themselves 
honey are eaten by flies — qiden se hace miel, le comen las 
moscas ; while no rat ever ventures to jest with the cat's son ; 
con Itijo cle gciio, no se burlan los ratones. The great thing is 
to make them get up early, and learn the value of time, which 
the groom cannot tie with his halter, tiempo y hora, no se ata 
con saga : while a cook who oversleeps himself not only misses 
his mass, but his meat, quien se levanta tarde, ni oye misa, ni 
compra came. If (which is soon found out) the servants seem 
not likely to answer, the sooner tliey are changed the better ; it 
is loss of time and soap, and he who is good for nothing in his 
own villaije will not be worth more either in Seville or else- 
where, so says the proverb. 

The principal defects of Spanish servants and of the lower 
classes of Spaniards are much tlie same, and faults of race. As 
a mass, they are apt to indulge in habits of procrastination, waste, 
improvidence, and untidiness. They are unmechanioal and ob- 
stinate, easily beaten by difficulties, which their first feeling is to 
raise, and their next to succumb to ; they give the thing up at 
once. They have no idea indeed of grappling with anything 
that requires much trouble, or of doing anything as it ought to 
be done, or even of doing the same thing in the same way — ac- 
cident and the impulse of the moment set them going. They 
are very unniechanical, obstinate, and prejudiced ; ignorant of 
their own ignorance and incurious as Orientals ; partly from 
pride, self-opinion, and idleness, they seldom will ask questions 
for information from others, which implies an inferiority of 
knowledge, and still more seldom will take an answer, unless it 
be such a one as they desire ; their own wishes, opinions, and 
wants are their guides, and self the centre of their gravity, not 
those of their employers. As a Spaniard's yes, when you beg a 
favour, generally means no, so they cannot or will not under- 
stand that your no is really a negative when they come petition- 
ing to be idle ; at the same time a great change for the better 
comes over them when they are taken out of the city on a 


rambling tour. The nomad life excites them into active service- 
able fellows ; in fact the uncertain harum-scarum nomad ex- 
istence is exactly what suits these descendants of the Arab ; they 
cannot bear the steady sustained routine of a well-managed 
household ; they abhor confinement ; hence the difficulty of 
getting Spaniards to garrison fortresses or to man ships of war, 
from whence there is no escape. 

As for what we call a well-appointed servants' hall, the case is 
hopeless in Spanish field or city, and is equally so whether the 
life be above or below stairs. In the house of the middle or 
highest classes this is particularly shown in everything that 
regards gastronomies, which are the tests and touchstones of 
good service. In truth, the Spaniard, accustomed to his own 
desultory, free and -easy, impromptu, scrambling style of dining, 
is constrained by the order and discipline, the pomp and cere- 
mony, and serious importance of a well-regulated dinner, and 
their observance of forms extends only to persons, not to things : 
even the grandee has only a thin Eluropean polish spread over 
his Gotho-Bedouin dining table ; he lives and eats surrounded 
by an humble clique, in his huge ill-furnished barrack-house, 
without any elegance, luxury, or even comfort, according to 
sound trans-pyrenean notions : few indeed are the kitchens 
which possess a cordon hieu, and fewer are the masters who 
really like an orthodox entree, one unpolluted with the heresies 
of garlic and red pepper : again, whenever their cookery at- 
tempts to be foreign, as in their other imitations, it ends in being 
a flavourless copy ; but few things are ever done in Spain in 
real style, which implies forethought and expense ; everything 
is a make-shift ; the noble master reposes his affairs on an unjust 
steward, and dozes away life on this bed of roses, somnolescent 
over business and awake only to intrigue ; his numerous ill-con- 
ditioned, ill-appointed servants have no idea of discipline or 
subordination ; you never can calculate on their laying even the 
table-cloth, as they prefer idling in the church or market to 
doing their duty, and would rather starve, dance, and sleep out 
of place and independently, than feast and earn their wages by 
fair work ; nor has the employer any redress, for if he dismisses 
them he will only get just such another set, or even worse. 

In our own Spanish household, the instant dinner and siesta 


M'ere over, the cook with his kitchen-man, the valet with the 
footman invariably stripped off" their working apparel — liveries 
are almost unheard of — donned their comical velvet embroidered 
hats, their sky-bine waistcoats, and scarlet sashes, and were off 
with a guitar to some scene of song and love-making, leaving 
their master alone in his glory to moralize on the uncertainty of 
human concerns and the faithlessness of mankind. 

What can't be cured must be endured. To resume, therefore, 
the character of these Spanish servants ; they are very loquacious, 
and highly credulous, as often is the case with those given to 
romancing, which they, and especially the Andalucians, are to 
a large degree ; and, in fact, it is the only remaining romance 
in Spain, as far as the natives are concerned. As they have an 
especial good opinion of themselves, they are touchy, sensitive, 
jealous, and thin-skinned, and easily affronted whenever their 
imperfections are pointed out ; their disposition is very sanguine 
and inflannuable ; they are always hoping that what they eagerly 
desire will come to pass without any great exertion on their 
parts ; they love to stand still with their arms folded, while 
other men put their shoulders to the wheel. Their lively ima- 
gination is very apt to carry them away into extremes for good 
or evil, when they act on the moment like children, and having 
gratifieii the humour of the impulse relapse into their ordinary 
tranquillity, which is that of a slumbering volcano. On the 
other hand, they are full of excellent and redeeming good qua- 
lities ; they are free from caprice, are hardy, patient, cheerful, 
good-humoured, sharp-witted, and intelligent : they are honest, 
faithful, and trustworthy; sober, and unaddicted to mean, vulgar 
vices ; they have a bold, manly bearing, and will follow well 
wherever they are well led, being the raw material of as good 
soldiers as are in the world ; they are loyal and religious at 
heart, and full of natural tact, mother-wit, and innate good 
manners. In general, a firm, quiet, courteous, and somewhat 
reserved manner is the most effective. Whenever duties are to 
be performed, let them see that you are not to be trifled with. 
The coolness of a determined Englishman's manner, when in 
earnest, is what few foreigners can withstand. Grimace and 
gesticulation, sound and fury, bluster, petulance, and imperti- 
nence fume and fret in vain against it, as the sprays and foam of 


the "French lake" do against the unmoved and immoveable 
rock of Gibraltar. An Englishman, without being over-familiar, 
may venture on a far greater degree of unbending in his inter- 
course with his Spanish dependants than he can dare to do with 
those he has in England. It is the custom of the country ; they 
are used to it, and their heads are not turned by it, nor do they 
ever forget their relative positions. The Spaniards treat their 
servants very much like the ancient Eomans or the modern 
Moors ; they are more their vernce, their domestic slaves : it is 
the absolute authority of the father combined with the kindness. 
Servants do not often change their masters in Spain : their rela- 
tion and duties are so clearly defined, that the latter runs no risk 
of compromising himself or his dignity by his familiarity, which 
can be laid down or taken up at his own pleasure ; whereas the 
scorn, contempt, and distance with which the said courteous 
Don would treat a roturier who presumed to be intimate, baffle 
description. In England no man dares to be intimate with his 
footman ; for supposing even such absurd fancy entered his 
brain, his footman is his equal in the eye of man-made law, God 
having created them utterly unequal in all his gifts, whether of 
rank, wealth, form, or intellect. Conventional barriers ac- 
cordingly must be erected in self-defence : and social barriers 
are more difficult to be passed than walls of brass, more impos- 
sible to be repealed than the whole statutes at large. No master 
in Spain, and still less a foreigner, should ever descend to per- 
sonal abuse, sneers, or violence. A blow is never to be washed 
out except in blood, and Spanish revenge descends to the third 
and fourth generation ; and whatever these backward Spaniards 
have to learn from foreigners, it is not the duty of revenge, nor 
how to perform it. There should be no threatenings in vain, 
but whenever the opportunity occurs for punishment, let it be 
done quietly and effectively, and the fault once punished should 
not be needlessly ripped up again ; Spaniards are sufficiently un- 
forgiving, and hoarders-up of unrevenged grievances require to 
be reminded. A kind and uniform behaviour, a showing con- 
sideration to them, in a manner which implies that you are ac- 
customed to it, and expect it to be shown to you, keeps most 
things in their right places. Temper and patience are the great 
requisites in the master, especially when he speaks the language 


imperfectly. He must not tliink Spaniards stupid because they 
cannot guess the meaning of his unknown tongue. Nothing 
again is g'ained by fidgeting and overdoing, and however early 
you may get up, daybreak will not take place the sooner : no por 
mucho madniffar, amanece mas temprano. Let well alone : be 
not zealous overmuch: be occasionally both blind and deaf: 
shut the door, and the devil passes by : keep honey in mouth 
and an eye to your cash : miel en boca y guurda la bolsa. Still 
how much less expenditure is necessary in Spain than in per- 
forming the commonest excursion in England ! — and yet many 
who submit to their own countrymen's extortions are furious at 
what they imagine is an especial cheating of them, quasi English- 
men, abroad : this outrageous economy, with which some are 
afflicted, is penny wise and pound foolish : pay, pay therefore 
with both hands. The traveller must remember that he gains 
caste, gets brevet rank in Spain — that he is taken for a grandee 
incog., and ranks with their nobility ; he must pay for these 
luxuries : how small after all will be the additional per centage 
on his general expenditure, and how well bestowed is the excess, 
in keeping the temper good, and the capability of enjoying un- 
ruffled a tour, which only is performed once in a life ! No 
wise man who goes into Spain for amusement will plunge into 
this guerrilla, this constant petty warfare, about sixpences. Let 
the traveller be true to himself ; hold his tongue ; avoid bad 
company, quien hace su cama con perros, se levanta con pulgas, 
those who sleep with dogs get up with fleas ; and make room for 
bulls and fools, al loco y toro da le corro, and he may see Spain 
agreeably, and, as Catullus said to Veranius, who made the tour 
many centuries ago, may on his return amuse his friends and 
" old mother :" — 

" Visam te incolumem, audiamqne Iberum 
Narrantem loca, facta, nationes, 
Sicut tuus est mos." 

which may be thus Englished : — 

May you come back safe, and tell 
Of Spanish men, their things and places, 
Of Spanish ladies' eyes and faces, 
In your own way, and so well. 

Two masters should take two servants, and both should be 
Spaniards : all others, unless they speak the language perfectly. 


are nuisances. A Gallegan or Asturian makes the best groom, 
an Andaluz the best cook and personal attendant. Sometimes a 
person may be picked up who has some knowledge of languages, 
and who is accustomed to accompany strangers through Spain as 
a sort of courier. These accomplishments are very rare, and the 
moral qualities of the possessor often diminish in proportion as 
his intellect has marched ; he has learnt more foreign tricks than 
words, and sea-port towns are not the best schools for honesty. 
Of these nondescripts the Hispano- Anglo, who generally has de- 
serted from Gibraltar, is the best, because he will work, hold his 
tongue, and fight ; a monkey would be a less inconvenience than 
a chattering Ibero-Gallo ; one who has forgotten his national 
accomplishments — cooking and hairdressing, and learnt very few 
Spanisli things, such as good temper and endurance. Whichever 
of the two is the sharpest should lead the way, and leave the other 
to bring up the rear. They should be mounted on good mules, 
and be provided with large panniers. One should act as the cook 
and valet, the other as the groom of the pArty ; and the utensils 
peculiar to each department should be carried by each professor. 
Where only one servant is employed, one side of the pannier 
should be dedicated to the commissariat, and the other to the 
luggage ; in that case the master should have a flyijig port- 
manteau, which should be sent by means of cosarios, and precede 
him from great town to great town, as a magazine, wardrobe, or 
geneial supply to fall back on. The servants should each have 
their own saddle-bag and leathern bottle, which, since the days 
of Sancho Panza, are part and parcel of a faithful squire, and 
w^hen all are carried on an ass are quite patriarchal. '■'■ Iha 
Sancho Panza sobre su jumento, como un patriarca con sus 
alforjas y hota." 

The servants will each in their line look after their own affairs ; 
the groom will take witli him the things of the stable, and a small 
provision of corn, in order that a feed may never be wanting, on 
an unexpected emergency ; he will always ascertain beforehand 
through what sort of a country each day's journey is to be niade, 
and make preparations accordingly. The valet will view his 
masters in the same light as the groom does his beasts ; and he 
will purvey and keep in readiness all tiiat appertains to their 
comfort, always remembering a raoskito net — we shall presently 

112 WHAT TO TAKE ON A JOURNEY. [chap. x. 

say a word on the fly-plague of the Peninsula — with nails to 
knock into the walls to hang it up by, not forgetting a hammer 
and gimlet ; common articles enough, but which are never to be 
got at the moment and place where they ai-e the most wanted. 
He will also carry a small canteen, the smaller and more ordi- 
nary the better, as anything out of the common way attracts 
attention, and suggests, first, the coveting other men's good^, and 
so on to assaults, batteries, robberies, and otiier inconveniences, 
which have been exploded on our roads ; although F. Moryson 
took care to caution our ancestors " to be warie on this head, 
since theeves have their spies commonly in all innes, to enquire 
into the condition of travellers." The manufactures of Spain 
are so rude and valueless that what appears to us to be the most 
ordinary appears to them to be the most excellent, as they have 
never seen anytliing so good. The lower orders, who eat with 
their fingers, think everything is gold which glitters, todo es oro 
lo que reluce ; as, after all, it is what is on the plate that is the 
rub, let no wise man have such smart forks and knives as to tempt 
cut-throats to turn them to unnatural purposes. However, avoid 
all superfluous luggage, especially prejudices and foregone con- 
clusions, for " 6'/^ largo camino pajd pesa," a straw is heavy on a 
long journey, and the last feather breaks tlie horse's back. A 
ytore of cigars, however, must always be excepted ; take plenty and 
give them freely ; it always opens a conversation well with a 
Spaniard, to offer him one of these little delicate marks of atten- 
tion. Good snuff" is acceptable to the curates and to monks 
(though there are none just now). English needles, thread, and 
pairs of scissars take no room, and are all keys to the good graces 
of tlie fair sex. There is a charm about a present, backshish, in 
most European as well as Oriental countries, and still more if it 
is given with tact, and at the proper time ; Spaniards, if unable 
to make any equivalent return, will always try to repay by civi- 
lities and attentions. 

Every one must determine for himself whether he prefers the 
assistance of this servant in the kitchen or at the toilet ; since it 
is not easy for mortal man to dress a master and a dinner, and 
both well at the same time, let alone two masters. A cook who 
runs after two hares at once catches neither. No prudent tra- 
veller on these, or on any occasions, should let another do for him 


what he can do for himself, and a man who waits upon himself 
IS sure to be well waited on. If, however, a valet be absolutely 
necessary, the groom clearly is best left in his own chamber, the 
stable ; he will have enough to do to curry and valet his four 
animals, which he knows to be good for their health, though he 
never scrapes off the cutaneous stucco by which his own illote 
carcass is Roman cemented. From long experience we have 
found that if the rider will get into the habit of carrying all the 
things requisite for his own dressing in a small separate bag, and 
employ the hour while the cook is getting the supper under 
weigh, it is wonderful how comfortably he will proceed to his 

The cook should take with him a stewing pan, and a pot oi 
kettle for boiling water; he need not lumber himself with much 
batterie de cuisine ; it is not much needed in the imperfect gas- 
tronomy of the Peninsula, where men eat like the beasts which 
perish ; all sort of artillery is rather rare in Spanish kitchen or 
fortress ; an hidalgo would as soon think of having a voltaic 
battery in his sitting-room as a copper one in his cuisine ; most 
classes are equally satisfied with the Oriental earthenware ollas, 
pucheros, or pipkins, which are everywhere to be found, and 
have some peculiar sympathy with the Spanish cuisine, since a 
stew — be it even of a cat — never eats so well when made in a 
metal vessel ; the great thing is to bring the raw materials, — first 
catch your hare. Tliose who have meat and money will always 
get a neighbour to lend them a pot. A renta is a place where 
the rich are sent empiy away, and where the poor hungry are not 
filled ; the whole duty of the man-cook, therefore, is to be always 
thinking of his commissariat ; he need not trouble liimself about 
his master's appetite, that will seldom fail, — nay, often be a mis- 
fortune ; a good appetite is not a good 'per se* for it, even when 
the best, becomes a bore when there is nothing to eat ; his capucho 
or mule hamper must be his travelling larder, cellar, and store- 
room ; he will victual himself according to the route, and the 
distances from one great town to another, and always take care to 
start with a good provision : indeed to attend to the commissariat 

* When George IV. once complained that he had lost his royal appetite, 
"What a scrape, sir, a pour man would be in if he/o;//»/ it !" said his 
Rochester companion. 

114 SPANISH BREAD. [chap. x. 

is, it cannot be too often repeated, the whoLe duty of a man cook 
in hungry Spain, where food has ever been the difficulty ; a little 
foresight gives small trouble and ensures great comfort, while 
perils by sea and perils by land are doubled when the stomach is 
empty, whereas, as Sancho Panza wisely told his ass, all sorrows 
are alleviated by eating bread : todos los duelos, con pan son 
huenos, and the shrewd squire, who seldom is wrong, was right both 
in the matter of bread and the moral : the former is admirable. 
The central table-lands of Spain are perhaps the finest wheat- 
growing districts in the world ; however rude and imperfect the 
cultivation — for the peasant does but scratch the earth, and 
seldom manures — the life-conferring sun comes to his assistance ; 
the returns are prodigious, and the quality superexcellent ; yet 
the growers, miserable in the midst of plenty, vegetate in cabins 
composed of baked mud, or in holes burrowed among the friable 
hillocks, in an utter ignorance of furniture, and absolute neces- 
saries. The want of roads, canals, and means of transport pre- 
vents their exportation of produce, which from its bulk is diffi- 
cult of carriage in a country wiiere grain is removed for the 
most part on four-footed beasts of burden, after the oriental and 
patriarchal fashion of Jacob, when he sent to the granaries of 
Egypt. Accordingly, although tliere are neither sliding scales 
nor corn laws, and subsistence is cheap and abundant, the popu- 
lation decreases in number and increases in wretchedness ; what 
boots it if corn be low-priced, if wages be still lower, as they 
then everywhere are and must be ? 

The finest bread in Spain is called jjan de candeal^ which is 
eaten by men in office and others in easy circumstances, as it was 
by the clergy. The worst bread is the pan de mttnicion, and 
forms the fare of the Spanish soldier, which, being sable as a hat, 
coarse and hard as a brickbat, would just do to sop in the black 
broth of the Spartan military ; indeed, the expression de municion 
is synonymous in the Peninsula with badness of quality, and the 
secondary meaning is taken from the perfection of badness which 
is perceptible in every thing connected with Spanish ammunition, 
from the knapsack to the citadel. Such bread and water, and 
both hardly earned, are the rations of the poor patient Spanish 
private ; nor can he when before the enemy reckon always on 
even that, unless it be supplied from an ally's commissariat. 


Perhaps the best bread in Spain is made at Alcala de Guadaira, 
near Seville, of which it is the oven, and hence the town is called 
the Alcala of bakers. There bread may truly be said to be the 
soul of its existence, and samples abound everywhere : roscas, 
or circular-formed rusks, are hung up like garlands, and hogazas^ 
loaves, placed on tables outside the houses. It is, indeed, as 
Spaniards say. Pan de Dios — the " angels' bread of Esdras." 
All classes here gain their bread by making it, and the water- 
mills and mule-mills are never still ; women and children are 
busy picking out earthy particles from the grain, which get mixed 
from the common mode of threshing on a floor in the open air, 
which is at once Biblical and Homeric. At the outside of the 
villages, in corn-growing districts, a smooth open " threshing- 
floor " is prepared, with a hard surface, like a fives court : it is 
called the era, and is the precise Roman area. The sheaves of 
corn are spread out on it, and four horses yoked most classically 
to a low crate or harrow, composed of planks armed with flints, &c., 
which is called a trillo : on this the driver is seated, who ur^es 
the beasts round and round over the crushed heap. Thus the 
grain is shaken out of the ears and the straw triturated ; the latter 
becomes food for horses, as the former does for men. When the 
heap is sufficiently bruised, it is removed and winnowed by being 
thrown up into the air ; the light winds carry off" the chaff", while 
the heavy corn falls to the ground. The whole operation is truly 
picturesque and singular. The scene is a crowded one, as many 
cultivators contribute to the mass and share in the labour ; their 
wives and children cluster around, clad in strange dresses of varied 
colours. They are sometimes sheltered from the god of fire under 
boughs, reeds, and awnings, run up as if for the painter, and fall- 
ing of themselves into pictures, as the lower classes of Spaniards 
and Italians always do. They are either eating and drinking, 
singing or dancing, for a guitar is never wanting. Meanwhile 
the fierce horses dash over the prostrate sheaves, and realise the 
splendid simile of Homer, who likens to them the fiery steeds of 
Achilles when driven over Trojan bodies. These out-of-door 
threshings take place of course when the weather is dry, and 
generally under a most terrific heat. The work is often con- 
tinued at nightfall by torch-light. During the day the half-clad 
dusky reapers defy the sun and his rage, rejoicing rather in the 


IIG BEE AD [chap. X. 

heat like salamanders ; it is true that their devotions to the porous 
water-jar are unremitting, nor is a swill at a good passenger's 
hota ever rejected ; all is life and action ; busy hands and feet, 
flashing eyes, and eager screams ; the light yellow chaif, which 
in the sun's rays glitters like gold dust, envelopes them in a halo, 
which by night, when partially revealed by the fires and mingled 
with the torch glare, is almost supernatural, as the phantom 
figures, now dark in shadows, now crimsoned by the fire flash, 
flit to and fro in tlie vaporous mist. The scene never fails to 
rivet and enchant the stranger, who, coming from the pale north 
and the commonplace in-door flail, seizes at once all the novelty 
of such doings. Eye and ear, open and awake, become inlets of 
new sensations of attention and admiration, and convey to heart 
and mind the poetry, local colour, movement, grouping, action, 
and attitude. But while the cold-blooded native of leaden skies 
is full of fire and enthusiasm, his Spanish companion, bred and 
born under unshorn beams, is chilly as an icicle, indifiTerent as 
an Arab : he passes on the other side, not only not admiring, but 
positively ashamed ; he only sees the barbarity, antiquity, and 
imperfect process ; he is sighing for some patent machine made 
in Birmingham, to be put up in a closed barn after the models 
approved of by the Royal Agricultviral Society in Cavendish 
Square ; his bowels yearn for the appliances of civilization by 
which " bread stuffs " are more scientifically manipulated and 
manufactured, minus the poetry. 

To return, however, to dry bread, after this new digression, 
and all those who have ever been in Spain, or have ever written 
on Spanish things, must feel how difficult it is to keep regularly 
on the road without turning aside at every moment, now to cull 
a wild flower, now to pick up a sparkling spar. This corn, so 
beaten, is very carefully ground, and in La Mancha in those 
charming windmills, which, perched on eminences to catch the 
air, look to this day, with their outstretched arms, like Quixotic 
giants ; the flour is passed through several hoppers, in order to 
secure its fineness. The dough is most carefully kneaded, 
worked, and re-worked, as is done by our biscuit-makers ; hence 
the close-grained, caky, somewliat hea-vy consistency of the 
crumb, whereas, according to Pliny, the Romans esteemed 
Spanish bread on account of its lightness. 


The Spanish loaf has not that mysterious sympathy with butter 
and cheese as it has in our verdurous Old England, probably 
because in these torrid regions pasture is rare, butter bad, and 
cheese worse, albeit they suited the iron digestion of Sancho, 
who knew of nothing better : none, however, who have ever 
tasted Stilton or Parmesan will join in his eulogies of Castilian 
queso, the poorness of which will be estimated by tiie distinguished 
consideration in which a round cannon-ball Dutch cheese is held 
throughout the Peninsula. The traveller, nevertlieless, should 
take one of them, for bad is here the best, in many other things 
besides these : he will always carry some good loaves with it, 
for in the damper mountain districts the daily bread of the natives 
is made of rye, Indian corn, and the inferior cerealia. Bread is 
the staff of tlie Spanish traveller's life, who, having added raw 
garlic, not salt, to it, then journeys on with security, con pan y 
ajo crudo se anda seguro. Again, a loaf never weighs one down, 
nor is ever in the way ; as ^sop, the prototype of Sancho, well 
knew. La hogaza no emharaza. 

Having secured his bread, the cook in preparing supper should 
make enough for the next day's lunch, las once, the eleven o'clock 
meal, as the Spaniards translate meridie, twelve or mid-day, 
whence the correct word for luncheon is derived, merienda 
merendar. Wherever good dishes are cut up there are good 
leavings, " donde buenas ollas quebran, buenos cascos quedan;" 
and nothing can be more Cervantic than the occasional al fresco 
halt, when no better place of accommodation is to be met with. 
As the sun gets high, and man and beast hungry and weary, 
wherever a tempting shady spot with running water occurs, the 
party draws aside from the high road, like Don Quixote and 
Sancho Panza ; a retired and concealed place is chosen, the 
lug-gage is removed from the animals, the hampers which lard 
the lean soil are unpacked, the table-cloth is spread on the grass, 
the botas are laid in the water to cool their contents ; then out 
with the provision, cold partridge or turkey, sliced ham or 
chorizo — simple cates, but which are eaten with an appetite and 
relish for which aldermen would pay hundreds. They are fol- 
lowed, should grapes be wanting, with a soothing cigar, and a 
sweet slumber on earth's freshest, softest lap. In such wild 
banquets Spain surpasses the Boulevards. Alas ! that such hours 

118 THE OLLA. [chap. x. 

should be bright and winged as sunbeams ! Such is Peninsular 
country fare. The olla, on which the rider may restore ex- 
hausted nature, is only to be studied in larger towns ; and dining, 
of whicli this is the foundation in Spain, is such a great resource 
to travellers, and Spanish cookery, again, is so Oriental, clas- 
sical, and singular, let alone its vital importance, that the subject 
will properly demand a chapter to itself. 



A Spanish Cook — Philosophy of Spanish Cuisine — Sauce — Difficulty of 
Commissariat — The Provend — Spanish Hares and Rabbits — The 011a — 
Gai'banzo — Spanish Pigs — Bacon and Hams— Omelette — Salad and 

It would exhaust a couple of Colonial numbers at least to discuss 
properly the merits and digest Spanish cookery. All that can 
be now done is to skim the subject, which is indeed fat and 
unctuous. Those meats and drinks will be briefly noticed which 
are of daily occurrence, and those dishes described which we have 
often helped to make, and oftener helped to eat, in the most lar- 
derless veiitas and hungriest districts of the Peninsula, and which 
provident wayfarers may make and eat again, and, as we pray, 
with no worse appetite. 

To be a good cook, which few Spaniards are, a man must not 
onlj^ understand his master's taste, but be able to make something 
out of nothing ; just as a clever French artiste converts an old 
shoe into an epigramme d'agneau, or a Parisian milliner dresses 
up two deal boards into a fine live ^ludame, whose only fault is 
the appearance of too much embonpoint. Genuine and legitimate 
Spanish dishes are excellent in their way, for no man nor man- 
cook ever is ridiculous when he does not attempt to be what lie 
is not. The au naturel may occasionally be somewhat plain, but 
seldom makes one sick ; at all events it would be as hopeless to 
make a Spaniard understand real French cookery as to endeavour 
to explain to a depute the meaning of our constitution or parlia- 
ment. Tlie ruin of Spanish cooks is their futile attempts to 
imitate foreign ones : just as their silly grandees murder tlie 
glorious Castilian tongue, by substituting what they fancy is pure 
Parisian, whicli they speak comme ties vacJtes Espagnoles. Dis 
moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai ce que tu es is " un mot pro- 
fond " of the great equity judge, Brillat Savarin, who also dis- 
covered that " Les dcstinees des nations dependent de la maniire 

120 THE NATIONAL COOKERY. [chap. xi. 

dotit elles se nourrissent ;" since which General Foy has attri- 
buted all the accidental victories of the British to rum and beef. 
And this great fact much enhances our serious respect for punch, 
and our true love for the ros-bif of old England, of which, by 
the way, very little will be got in the Peninsula, where bulls are 
bred for baiting, and oxen for the plough, not the spit. 

The national cookery of Spain is for the most part Oriental ; 
and the ruling principle of its preparation is steiving ; for, from 
a scarcity of fuel, roasting is almost unknown ; their notion of 
which is putting meat into a pan, setting it in hot ashes, and 
then covering the lid with burning embers. The pot, or olla, 
has accordingly become a synonyme for the dinner of Spaniards, 
just as beefsteaks or frogs are vulgarly supposed to constitute the 
whole bill of fare of two other mighty nations. AVherever meats 
are bad and thin, the sauce is very important ; it is based in 
Spain on oil, garlic, saffron, and red peppers. In hot countries, 
where beasts are lean, oil supplies the place of fat, as garlic does 
the want of flavour, while a stimulating condiment excites or 
curries up the coats of a languid stomach. It has been said of 
our heretical countrymen that we have but one form of sauce — 
melted butter — and a hundred different forms of religion, whereas 
in orthodox Spaii^there is but one of each, and, as with religion, 
so to change this sauce would be little short of heresy. As to 
colour, it carries that rich burnt umber, raw sienna tint, which 
Murillo imitated so well ; and no wonder, since he made his par- 
ticular brown from baked olla bones, whence it was extracted, as 
is done to this day by tliose Spanish painters who indulge in meat. 
This brown negro de hueso colour is the livery of tawny Spain, 
where all is brown from the Sierra Blorena to duskier man. Of 
such hue is his cloak, his terra-cotta house, his wife, his ox, his 
ass, and everything that is his. This sauce has not only tlie 
same colour, but the same flavour everywhere ; hence the diffi- 
culty of making out the material of which any dish is composed. 
ISIot Mrs. Glass herself could tell, by taste at least, wdiether the 
ingredients of the cauldron be hare or cat, cow or calf, the afore- 
said ox or ass. It puzzles even the acumen of a Frenchman ; for 
it is still the great boast of the town of Olvera that they served 
up some donkeys as rations to a Buonapartist detachment. All 
this is very Oriental. Isaac could not distinguish tame kid from 


wild venison, so perplexing was the disguise of the savoury sauce ; 
and yet his senses of smell and touch were keen, and his suspicions 
of unfair cooking were awakened. A prudent diner, therefore, 
except when forced to become his own cook, will never look too 
closely into the things of the kitchen if he wishes to live a quiet 
life ; for qicieit. las cosas mucho apura, no vive vida segura. 

All who ride or run through the Peninsula, will read thirst 
in the arid plains, and hunger in the soil-denuded hills, where 
those who ask for bread will receive stones. The knife and 
fork question has troubled every warrior in Spain, from 
Henri IV. down to Wellington ; " subsistence is the great dif- 
ficulty always found " is the text of a third of the Duke's 
wonderful despatches. This scarcity of food is implied in the 
very name of Spain, Syraria, which means poverty and destitution, 
as well as in the term BisoFios, wanters, which long has been a 
synonyme for Spanish soldiers, who are always, as the Duke 
described them, " hors de combat," " always wanting in every 
thing at the critical moment." Hunger and thirst have ever 
been, and are, the best defenders of tlie Peninsula against the 
invader. On sierra and steppe these gaunt sentinels keep 
watch and ward, and, on the scarecrow principle, protect this 
paradise, as they do the infernal regions of Virgil • — 

*' Malesuada fames et turpis egestas 
Horribiles visu." 

A riding tour through Spain has already been likened to 
serving a campaign ; and it was a saying of the Grand Conde, " If 
you want to know what want is, carry on a war in Spain." Yet, 
notwitlistanding the thousands of miles which we have ridden, 
never have we yet felt that dire necessity, which has been kept 
at a respectable distance by a constant unremitting attention to 
tne "pi overb, A man forewarned is forearmed. Hombre prevenido 
nuncafu vencido, there is nothing like precaution 2in(\ provision. 
" If you mean to dine," writes the all-providing Duke to Lord 
Hill from Moraleja, '■^ you had better bring your things, as 
I shall have nothing with me ;" — the ancient Bursal fashion 
holds good on Spanish roads : — 

" Regula Bursalis est omni tempore talis, 
Prandia fer tecum, si vis comedere mecum.' 

122 EATING ON THE ROAD. [chap. xi. 

A man who is prepared, is never beaten or starved ; therefore, 
as the valorous Dalgetty has it, a prudent man will always 
victual himself in Spain with vivers for three days at least, and 
his cook, like Sancho Panza, should have nothing else in his 
head, but thoughts how to convey the most eatables into his am- 
bulant larder. 

He must .set forth from every tolerable-sized town with an 
ample supply of tea, sugar, coftee, brandy, good oil, wine, salt, 
to say nothing of solids. The having something ready gives 
him leisure to forage and make ulterior preparations. Tiiose 
who have a corps de reserve to fall back upon — say a cold turkey 
and a ham — can always convert any spot in the desert into an 
oasis ; at the same time the connection between body and soul 
may be kept up by trusting to venta luck, of which more anon; 
it offers, however, but a miserable existence to persons of judg- 
ment. And even when this precaution of provision be not re- 
quired, there are never wanting in Spain the poor and hungry, 
to whom the taste of meat is almost unknown, and to whom 
these crumbs that fall from the rich man's table are indeed a 
feast ; the relish and gratitude with which these fragments are 
devoured do as much good to the heart of the donor as to the 
stomach of the donees, for the best medicines of the poor are to 
be found in the cellars, kitchens, and hampers of the rich. All 
servants should be careful of their traps and stores, which are 
liable to be pilfered and plundered in ventas, where the elite of 
society is not always assembled : the luggage should be well 
corded, for the devil is always a gleaning, ata al saco^ ya espiga 
el diablo. 

Formerly all travellers of rank carried a silver olla with a 
key, the guardacena, the save supper. This ingenious con- 
trivance has furnished matter for many a pleasantry in picaresque 
tales and farces. Madame Daunoy gives us the history of what 
befel the good Archbishop of Burgos and his orthodox olla. 

There is nothing in life like making a good start ; thus the 
party arrives safely at the first resting-place. The cook must 
never appear to have anything when he arrives at an inn ; he 
must get from others all he can, and much is to be had for asking 
and crying, as even a Spanish Infante knows — the child that 


does not cry is not suckled, quie7i no llora, no mama; the 
artiste must never fall back on his own reservoirs except in cases 
of absolute need ; during the day he must open his eyes and ears 
and must pick up everything eatable, and where he can and when 
he can. By keeping a sharp look-out and going quietly to work 
the cook may catch the hen and her chickens too. All is fish that 
comes into the net, and, like Buonaparte and his marshals, nothing 
should be too great for his ambition, nothing too small for his 
rapacity. Of course he will pay for his collections, which the 
aforesaid gentry did not : thus fruit, onions, salads, which, as tliey 
must be bought somewhere, had better be secured whenever they 
turn up, Tlie peasants, who are sad poachers, will constantly 
hail travellers from the fields with offers of partridges, rabbits, 
melons, hares, which always jump up in this pays de I'imprevu 
when you least expect it : Salta la liebre cuando menos uno 

Notwithstanding Don Quixote thought that it augured bad 
luck to meet with a hare on entering a village, let not a bold 
traveller be scared, but forthwith stew the omen ; a hare, as in 
the time of Martial, is considered by Spaniards to be the glory 
of edible quadrupeds, and to this day no old stager ever takes a 
rabbit when he can get a hare, a •perro viejo echale liebre y no 
conejo. In default however of catching one, rabbits may always 
be bagged. Spain abounds with them to such a degree, that 
ancient naturalists thought the animal indigenous, and went so 
far as to derive the name Spain from Seplum, the rabbit, which 
the Phoenicians found here for the first time. Be that as it may, 
the long-eared timid creature appears on the early Iberian coins, 
as it will long do on her wide wastes and tables. By the bye, a 
ready-stewed rabbit or hare is to be eschewed as suspicious in a 
venta : at the same time, if the consumer does not find out that it 
is a cat, there is no great harm done — ignorance is bliss ; let him 
not know it, he is not robbed at all. It is a pity to dispel his 
gastronomic delusion, as it is the knowledge of the cheat that 
kills, and not the cat. Pol ! me occidistis, amici. The cook 
therefore should ascertain beforehand what are the bona fide in- 
gredients of every dish that he sets before his lord. 

In going into the kitchens of the Peninsula, precedence must 
on every account be given to the alia : this word means at once 

124 THE OLLA PODRIDA. [chap. xi. 

a species of prepared food, and the earthenware utensil in which 
it is dressed, just as our term dish is applicable to the platter 
and to what is served on it. Into this olla it may be affirmed 
that the whole culinary genius of Spain is condensed, as the 
mighty Jinn was into a gallipot, according to the Arabian Night 
tales. The lively and gastronomic French, who are decidedly 
the leaders of European civilization in the kitchen, deride the 
barbarous practices of the Gotho-Iberians, as being darker than 
Erebus and more ascetic than aesthetic ; to credit their authors, 
a Peninsular breakfast consists of a teaspoonful of chocolate, a 
dinner, of a knob of garlic soaked in water, and a supper, of a 
paper cigarette ; and according to their parfait cuisinier, the 
olla is made of two cigars boiled in three gallons of water — but 
this is a calumny, a mere invention devised by the enemy. 

The olla is only well made in Andalucia, and there alone in 
carefid, well-appointed houses ; it is called a jmchero in the rest 
of Spain, where it is but a poor affair, made of dry beef, or rather 
cow, boiled with garbanzos or chick peas, and a few sausages. 
These garbanzos are the vegetable, the potato of the land ; and 
their use argues a low state of horticultural knowledge. The 
taste for them was introduced by the Carthaginians — the p)^ls 
punica, which (like the Jides punica, an especial ingredient in 
all Spanish governments and finance) afforded such merriment 
to Plautus, that he introduced the chick-pea eating Poenus, pul- 
tiphagonides, speaking Punic, just as Shakspere did the toasted- 
cheese eating Welishman talking Welsh. These garbanzos re- 
quire much soaking, being otherwise hard as bullets ; indeed, a 
lively Frenchman, after wliat he calls an apology for a dinner, 
compared them, in his empty stomach, as he was jumbled away 
in the dilly, to peas rattling in a child's drum. 

The veritable o//a— the ancient time-honoured olla podrida, 
or pot pourri — the epithet is now obsolete — is difficult to be 
made : a tolerable one is never to be eaten out of Spain, since it 
requires many Spanish things to concoct it, and much care ; the 
cook must tlirow his whole soul into the pan, or rather pot ; it 
may be made in one, but two are better. They must be of 
earthenware ; for, like tlie French pot aic feu, the dish is good 
for nothing when made in an iron or copper vessel ; take there- 
fore two, and put them on their separate stoves with water. 


Place into No. 1, Garbanzos, which have been placed to soak 
over-night. Add a good piece of beef, a chicken, a large piece 
of bacon ; let it boil once and quickly ; then let it simmer : it 
requires four or five hours to be well done. Meanwhile place 
into No. 2, with water, whatever vegetables are to be had : 
lettuces, cabbage, a slice of gourd, of beef, carrots, beans, celery, 
endive, onions and garlic, long peppers. These must be pre- 
viously well washed and cut, as if they were destined to make a 
salad ; then add red sausages, or " chorizos ;" half a salted pig's 
face, which should have been soaked over-night. When all is 
sufficiently boiled, strain off the water, and throw it away. 
Remember constantly to skim the scum of both saucepans. When 
all this is sufficiently dressed, take a large dish, lay in the bottom 
the vegetables, the beef in the centre, flanked by the bacon, 
chicken, and pig's face. The sausages should be arranged 
around, en couronne ; pour over some of the soup of No. 1, and 
serve hot, as Horace did : " Uncta satis — ponuntur oluscula 
lardo." No violets come up to the perfume which a coming 
olla casts before it ; the mouth-watering bystanders sigh, as they 
see and smell the rich freight steaming away from them. 

This is the olla e?i grcmde, such as Don Quixote says was 
eaten only by canons and presidents of colleges ; like turtle soup, 
it is so rich and satisfactory that it is a dinner of itself. A 
worthy dignitary of Seville, in the good old times, before reform 
and appropriation had put out the churches' kitchen fire, and 
whose daily pot-luck was transcendental, told us, as a wrinkle, that 
he on feast-days used turkeys instead of chickens, and added two 
sharp Ronda apples, and three sweet potatoes of Malaga. His 
advice is wortli attention : he was a good Roman Catholic canon, 
who believed everything, absolved everything, drank everything, 
ate everything, and digested everything. In fact, as a general rule, 
anything that is good in itself is good for an olla, provided, as old 
vSpanish books always conclude, that it contains nothing contrary 
to the holy mother church, to orthodoxy, and to good manners — 
" que no contiene cosa que se oponga a nuestra madre Iglesia, y 
santa fe catolica, y huenas costumhresr Such an olla as this is 
not to be got on the road, but may be made to restore exhausted 
nature when halting in the cities. Of course, every olla must 
everywhere be made according to what can be got. In private 

126 BACON. [chap. XI. 

families the contents of No. 1, the soup, is served up with bread, 
in a tureen, and the frugal table decked with the separate con- 
tents of the olla in separate platters ; the remains coldly serve, or 
are warmed up, for supper. 

The vegetables and bacon are absolute necessaries; without 
the former an olla has neither grace nor sustenance ; la olla sin 
verdura, ni tiene gracia ni hartura, while the latter is as essential 
in this stew as a text from Saint Augustine is in a sermon : 

No hay olla sin tocino, 
Ni sermon sin Agustino. 

Bacon throughout the length and breadth of the Peninsula is 
more honoured than this, or than any one or all the fathers of the 
church of Rome ; the hunger after the flesh of the pig is equalled 
only by the thirst for the contents of what is put afterwards into 
his skin ; and with reason, for the pork of Spain has always 
been, and is, unequalled in flavour ; the bacon is fat and flavoured, 
the sausages delicious, and the hams transcendantly superlative, 
to use the very expression of Diodorus Siculus, a man of great 
taste, learning, and judgment. Of all the things of Spain, no one 
need feeling ashamed to plead guilty to a predilection and pre- 
ference to the pig. A few particulars may be therefore par- 

In Spain pigs are more numerous even than asses, since they 
pervade the provinces. As those of Estremadura, the Hampshire 
of the Peninsula, are the most esteemed, they alone will be now 
noticed. That province, although so little visited by Spaniards 
or strangers, is full of interest to the antiquarian and naturalist ; 
and many are the rides at different periods which we have made 
through its tangled ilex groves, and over its depopulated and 
aromatic wastes. A granary under Roman and Moor, its very 
existence seems to be all but forgotten by the Madrid govern- 
ment, who have abandoned it io ferce naturce, to wandering sheep, 
locusts, and swine. The entomology of Estremadura is endless, 
and perfectly uninvestigated — de minimis non curat Hispanus ; 
but the heavens and earth teem with the minute creation ; there 
nature is most busy and prolific, where man is most idle and un- 
productive ; and in these lonely wastes, where no human voice 
disturbs the silence, the balmy air resounds with the buzzing hum 


of multitudinous insects, which career about on their business of 
love or food without settlements or kitchens, rejoicing in the fine 
weather which is the joy of their tiny souls, and short-lived plea- 
sant existence. Sheep, pigs, locusts, and doves are the only 
living things which the traveller will see for hours and hours. 
Now and then a man occurs, just to prove how rare his species 
is here. 

Vast districts of this unreclaimed province are covered with 
woods of oak, beech, and chesnut ; but these park-like scenes 
have no charms for native eyes ; blind to the picturesque, they 
only are thinking of the number of pigs which can be fattened 
on the mast and acorns, whicli are sweeter and larger than those 
of our oaks. The acorns are still called hellota^ the Arabic bollot 
— belot being the Scriptural term for the tree and the gland, 
which, with water, formed the original diet of the aboriginal 
Iberian, as well as of his pig ; when dry, the acorns were ground, 
say the classical authors, into bread, and, when fresh, they were 
served up as the second course. And in our time ladies of high 
rank at Madrid constantly ate them at the opera and elsewhere ; 
they were the presents sent by Sancho Panza's wife to the Ducliess, 
and formed the text on which Don Quixote preached so 
eloquently to the goatherds, on the joys and innocence of the 
golden age and pastoral happiness, in which they constituted the 
foundation of the kitchen. 

The pigs during the greater part of the year are left to support 
nature as they can, and in gauntness resemble those greyhound - 
looking animals which pass for porkers in France. When the 
acorns are ripe and fall from the trees, the greedy animals are 
turned out in legions from the villages, which more correctly may 
be termed coalitions of pigsties. They return from the woods at 
niglit, of their own accord, and without a swine's general. On 
entering the hamlet, all set off at a full gallop, like a legion 
possessed with devils, in a handicap for home, into which each 
single pig turns, never making a mistake. We have more than 
once been caught in one of these pig-deluges, and nearly carried 
away horse and all, as befell Don Quixote, when really swept 
away by the " far-spread and grunting drove." In his own 
home eacli truant is welcomed like a prodigal son or a domestic 
father. These pigs are the pets of the peasants; they are 

128 KILLING A PIG. [chap, xi 

brought up with their children, and partake, as in Ireland, in the 
domestic discomforts of their cabins ; they are universally re- 
spected, and justly, for it is this animal who pays the " rint ;" in 
fact, are the citizens, as at Sorrento, and Estremenian man is 
quite a secondary formation, and created to tend herds of these 
swine, who lead the happy life of former Toledan dignitaries, 
with the additional advantage of becoming more valuable when 

It is astonisliing how rapidly they thrive on their sweet food ; 
indeed it is the whole duty of a good pig — animal propter con- 
vivia natum — to get as fat and as soon as he can, and then die 
for the good of his country. It may be observed for the inform- 
ation of our farmers, that those pigs which are dedicated to St. 
Anthony, on whom a sow is in constant attendance, as a dove 
was on Venus, get the soonest fat ; therefore in Spain young 
porkers are sprinkled with holy water on his day, but those of 
other saints are less propitious, for the killing takes place about 
the 10th and 11th of November, or, as Spaniards date it, por el 
St. Andres, on the day of St. Andrew, or on that of St. Mar- 
tin ; hence the proverb " every man and pig has his St. Martin 
or his fatal hour, a cada puerco su San Mart'm." 

The death of a fat pig is as great an event in Spanish families, 
who generally fatten up one, as tlie birth of a baby ; nor can the 
fact be kept secret, so audible is his announcement. It is con- 
sidered a delicate attention on the part of the proprietor to cele- 
brate the auspicious event by sending a portion of the chitterlings 
to intimate friends. Tiie (Spaniard's proudest boast is that his 
blood is pure, that he is not descended from pork-eschewing 
Jew or Moor — a fact which the pig genus, could it reason, would 
deeply deplore. The Spaniard doubtless has been so great a 
consumer of pig, from grounds religious, as well as gastronomic. 
The eating or not eating the flesh of an animal deemed unclean 
by the impure infidel, became a test of orthodoxy, and at once 
of correct faitli as well as of good taste ; and good bacon, as has 
been just observed, is wedded to sound doctrine and St. Augus- 
tine. The Spanish name Tocino is derived from the Arabic 
Tacliim, which signifies fat. 

The Spaniards however, althougli tremendous consumers of 
the pig, whether in the salted form or in the skin, have to the 


full the Oriental abhorrence to the unclean animal in the abstract. 
Muy puerco is their last expression for all that is most dirty, 
nasty, or disgusting. 3Iuy cochma never is forgiven, if applied 
to woman, as it is equivalent to the Italian Vacca, and to the 
canine feminine compliment bandied among our fair sex at 
Billingsgate ; nor does the epithet imply moral purity or chastity ; 
indeed in Castilian euphuism the unclean animal was never to 
be named except in a periphrasis, or with an apology, which is 
a singular remnant of the Moorish influence on Spanish manners. 
Haluf ov swine is still the Moslem's most obnoxious term for 
the Christians, and is applied to this day by the ungrateful 
Algerines to their French bakers and benefactors, nay even to 
the " illustre Bugeaud.'" 

The capital of tiie Estremenian pig-districts is Montanches — 
mons anguis — ^and doubtless the hilly spot where the Duke of 
Arcos fed and cured " ces petits jambons vermeils," which the Due 
de St. Simon ate and admired so much ; " ces jambons ont un 
parfum si admirable, un gout si rtleve et si vivifiant, qu'on en est 
surpris : il est impossible de rien manger si exquis." His Grace 
of Arcos used to shut up the pigs in places abounding in vipers, 
on which they fattened. Neither the pigs, dukes, nor their 
toadeaters seem to have been poisoned by these exquisite vipers. 
According to Jonas Barrington, the finest Irish pigs were those 
that fed on dead rebels : one Papist porker, the Enniscorthy 
boar, was sent as a show, for having eaten a Protestant parson : 
he was put to death and dislionoured by not being made bacon of. 

Naturalists have remarked that the rattlesnakes in America 
retire before their consuming enemy, the pig, who is thus the 
gustador or pioneer of the new world's civilization, just as 
Pizarro, who was suckled by a sow, and tended swine in his 
youth, was its conqueror. Be that as it may, Montanches is 
illustrious in pork, in which the burgesses go the whole hog, 
whetlier in the rich red sausage, the chorizo, or in the savouiy 
piquant embuchados, which are akin to the mortadelle of Bologna, 
only less hard, and usually boiled before eating, though good 
also raw ; they consist of the choice bits of the pig seasoned with 
condiments, with which, as if by retribution, the paunch of the 
voracious animal is filled ; the ruling passion strong in death. 
We strongly recommend Juan Valiente, who recently was the 


130 A MEAT OMELETTE, chap, xi. 

alcalde of the town, to the lover of delicious hams; each jamon 
ai'erages about 12 lb. ; they are sold at the rate of 7^ reales, 
about l8fZ., for the libra carnicera, which weighs 32 of our 
ounces. The duties iu England are now very trifling ; we have 
for many years had an annual supply of these delicacies, through 
the favour of a kind friend at the Puerto. The fat of these 
jamones, whence our word ham and gammon, when they are 
boiled, looks like melted topazes, and the flavour defies language, 
although we have dined on one this very day, in order to secure 
accuracy and undeniable prose, like Lope de Vega, who, accord- 
ing to his biographer. Dr. Montalvan, never could write poetry 
tmless inspired by a rasher ; " Toda es cosa vil," said he, " a donde 
falta un per?iH" (in which word we recognize the precise perna 
whereby Horace was restored) : — 

Therefore all writing is a sham, 
Where there is wanting Spanish ham. 

Those of Gallicia and Catalonia are also celebrated, but are 
not to be compared for a moment with those of Montanches, 
which are fit to set before an emperor. Their only rivals are 
the sweet hams of the Alpujarras, which are made at Trevelez, 
a pig-hamlet situated under the snowy mountains on the oppo- 
site side of Granada, to which also we have made a pilgrimage. 
They are called dulces or sweet, because scarcely any salt is 
used in the curing ; the ham is placed in a weak pickle for eight 
days, and is then hung up in the snow ; it can only be done at 
this place, where the exact temperature necessary is certain. 
Those of our readers who are curious in Spanish eatables will 
find excellent garbanzcjs, chorizos, red pepper, chocolate and 
Valencian sweetmeats, &c. at Figul's, a most worthy Catalan, 
whose shop is at No. 10, Woburn Buildings, St. Pancras, 
London ; the locality is scarcely less visited than Montanches, 
but the penny -post penetrates into this terra incognita. 

So much space has been filled with these meritorious bacons 
and hams, that we must be brief with our remaining bill of fare. 
For a. pisto or meat omelette take eggs, which are to be got 
almost everywhere ; see that they are fresh by being pellucid ; 
beat these kuevos trasparentes well up ; chop up onions and 
whatever savoury herbs you have with you ; add small slices of 
any meat out of your hamper, cold turkey, ham, &c. ; beat it 


all up together and fry it quickly. Most Spaniards have a 
peculiar knack in making these tortillas, revueltas de huevos, 
which to fastidious stomachs are, as in most parts of the Conti- 
nent, a sure resource to fall back upon. 

The Guisado, or stew, like the olla, can only be really done 
in a Spanish pipkin, and of those which we import, the Anda- 
lucian ones draw flavour out tlie best. This dish is always well 
done by every cook in every venta, barring that they are apt to 
put in bad oil, and too much garlic, pepper, and saffron. Super- 
intend it, tlierefore, yourself, and take hare, partridge, rabbit, 
chicken, or whatever you may have foraged on the road ; it is 
capital also with pheasant, as we proved only yesterday ; cut it 
up, save the blood, the liver, and the giblets ; do not wash the 
pieces, but dry them in a cloth ; fry them with onions in a tea- 
cup of oil till browned ; take an olla, put in these bits with the 
oil, equal portions of wine and water, but stock is better than 
water ; claret answers well, Valdeperias better ; add a bit of 
bacon, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, pimientos, a bunch of thyme 
or herbs ; let it simmer, carefully skimming it ; lialf an hour 
before serving add the giblets ; when done, which can be tested 
by feeling with a fork, serve hot. The stew should be con- 
stantly stirred with a wooden spoon, and grease, the ruin of all 
cookery, carefully skimmed off as it rises to the surface. When 
made with proper care and with a good salad, it forms a supper 
for a cardinal, or for Santiago himself. 

Another excellent but very difficult dish is the polio con'arroz, 
or the chicken and rice. It is eaten in perfection in Valencia, 
and therefore is often called Polio Valenciano. Cut a good 
fowl into pieces, wipe it clean, but do not put it into water ; 
take a saucepan, put in a wine-glass of fine oil, heat the oil well, 
put in a bit of bread ; let it fry, stirring it about with a wooden 
spoon ; when the bread is browned take it out and throw it away : 
put in two cloves of garlic, taking care that it does not burn, as, 
if it does, it will turn bitter ; stir the garlic till it is fried ; put 
in the chicken, keep stirring it about while it fries, then put in a 
little salt and stir again ; whenever a sound of cracking is heard, 
stir it again ; when the chicken is well browned or gilded, dorado, 
which will take from five to ten minutes, stirring constantly, put 
in chopped onions, three or four chopped red or green chilis, and 


132 STARRED EGGS. [chap. xi. 

stir about ; if once the contents catch the pan, the dish is spoiled ; 
then add tomatas, divided into quarters, and parsley ; take two 
teacupsful of rice, mix all well up together ; add hot stoct^nough 
to cover the whole over ; let it boil once, and then set it aside to 
simmer until the rice becomes tender and done. The great art 
consists in having the rice turned out granulated and separate, 
not in a pudding state, which is sure to be the case if a cover be 
ever put over the dish, which condenses the steam. 

It may be objected, that these dishes, if so curious in the cook- 
ing, are not likely to be well done in the rude kitchens of a venta ; 
but practice makes perfect, and the whole mind and intellect of the 
artist is concentrated on one object, and not frittered away by a mul- 
tiplicity of dishes, the rock on which many cooks founder, where 
more dinners are sacrificed to the eye and ostentation. One dish 
and one thing at a time is the golden rule of Bacon ; many are 
the anxious moments that we have spent over the rim of a 
Spanish pipkin, watching, life set on the cast, the wizen she- 
mummy, whose mind, body, and spoon were absorbed in a single 
mess : Well, my mother, que tal ? what sort of a stew is it ? 
Let me smell and taste the salsa. Good, good ; it promises 
much. Vamos, Senora — go on, my lady, thy spoon once more 
— how, indeed, can oil, wine, and nutritive juices amalgamate 
without frequent stirring? Well, very well it is. Now again, 
daughter of my soul, thy fork. Asi, asi ; thus, thus. JPer JBacco, 
by Bacchus, tender it is — may heaven repay thee ! Indeed, from 
this tenderness of the meat arises ease of digestion ; here, pot and 
fire do half the work of the poor stomach, which too often in 
inns elsewhere is overtaxed, like its owner, and condemned to 
hard labour and a brickbat beefsteak. 

Poached eggs are at all events within the grasp of the meanest 
culinary capacity. They are called Huevos estrellados, starred 
eggs. When fat bacon is wedded to them, the dish is called Huevos 
conmagras', not that mar/ras here means thin as to condition, 
but rather as to slicing ; and these slices, again, are positively thick 
ones when compared to those triumphs of close shaving which 
are carved at Vauxhall. To make this dish, with or without the 
bacon, take eggs ; the contents of the shell are to be emptied into 
a pan filled with hot oil or lard, manteca de 'puerco, pig's butter : 
it must be remembered, although Strabo mentions as a singular 

CHAP. XI.] SALAD. 1.33 

fact that the Iberians made use of butter instead of oil, tliat now 
it is just the reverse ; a century ago J)utter was only sold by the 
apothecaries, as a sort of ointment, and it used to be iniquitous. 
Spaniards generally used either Irish or Flemish salted butter, 
and from long habit thought fresh butter qiute insipid ; indeed, 
they have no objection to its being a trifle or so rancid, just as 
some aldermen like high venison. In the present age of pro- 
gress the Queen Christina has a fancy dairy at Madrid, where 
she makes a few pounds of fresh butter, of which a small portion 
is or was sold, at five shillings the pound, to foreign ambassadors 
for their breakfast. Recently more attention has been paid to 
the dairy in the Swiss-like provinces of the north-west. The 
Spaniards, like the heroes in the Iliad, seldom boil their food 
(eggs excepted), at least not in water ; for frying, after all, is 
but boiling in oil. 

Travellers should be cautioned against the captivating name 
of manteca Valenciana. Tliis Valencian butter is composed (for 
the cow has nothing to do with it) of equal portions of garlic and 
hogs' lard pounded together in a mortar ; it is then spread on 
bread, just as we do arsenic to destroy vermin. It, however, 
agrees well with the peasants, as does the soup of their neighbours 
the Catalans, whicli is made of bread and garlic in equal portions 
fried in oil and diluted with hot water. This mess is called sopa 
de gato, probably from making cats, not Catalans, sick. 

One thing, however, is truly delicious in Spain — the salad, to 
compound which, says the Spanisli proverb, four persons are 
wanted : a spendthrift for oil, a miser for vinegar, a counsellor 
for salt, and a madman to stir it all up. N.B. Get the biggest 
bowl you can, in order that this latter operation may be thoroughly 
performed. The salad is the glory of every French dinner, and 
the disgrace of most in England, even in good houses, and from 
two simple causes ; first, from the putting in eggs, nmstartl, and 
other heretical ingredients, and, secondly, from making it long be- 
fore it is wanted to be eaten, whereby the green materials, which 
should be crisp and fresh, become sodden and leatliery. Prepare, 
therefore, your salad in separate vessels, and never mix the sauce 
with the herbs until the instant that you are ready to transfer the 
refreshing result to your plate. Take lettuce, or wliatevev salad 
is to be got ; do not cut it with a steel knife, which turns the 

134 GAZPACHO. [chap. xi. 

edges of the wounds black, and communicates an evil flavour ; 
let the leaf be torn from the stem, which throw away, as it is 
hard and bitter ; wash the mass in many waters, and rinse it in 
napkins till dry ; take a small bowl, put in equal quantities of 
vinegar and water, a teaspoonful of pepper and salt, and four 
times as much oil as vinegar and water, mix the same well toge- 
ther ; prepare in a plate whatever fine herbs can be got, especially 
tarragon and chervil, which must be chopped small. Pour the 
sauce over the salad, powder it with these herbs, and lose no 
time in eating. For making a much worse salad than this, a 
foreign artiste in London used some years ago to charge a 

Any remarks on Spanish salads would be incomplete without 
some account o^ gazpacho, that vegetable soup, or floating salad, 
which during the summer forms tlie food of the bulk of the 
people in the torrid portions of Spain. This dish is of Arabic 
origin, as its name, '' soaked bread," implies. This most ancient 
Oriental Roman and Moorish refection is composed of onions, 
garlic, cucumbers, chilis, all chopped up very small and mixed 
with crumbs of bread, and then put into a bowl of oil, vinegar, 
and fresh water. Reapers and agricultural labourers could never 
stand the sun's fire without this cooling acetous diet. This was 
the o^vKparog of the Greeks, the posca, potable food, meat and 
drink, potus et esca, whicli formed part of the rations of the 
Roman soldiers, and which Adrian (a Spaniard) delighted to 
share with them, and into which Boaz at meal-time invited Ruth 
to dip her morsel. Dr. Buchanan found some Syrian Christians 
who still called it ail, ail, Hil, Hila, for which our Saviour was 
supposed to have called on the Cross, when those who understood 
that dialect gave it him from the vessel which was full of it for 
the guard. In Andalucia, during the summer, a bowl of gaz- 
pacho is commonly ready in every house of an evening, and is 
partaken of by every person who comes in. It is not easily 
digested by strangers, who do not require it quite so much as 
the natives, whose souls are more parched and dried up, and 
who perspire less. The components, oil, vinegar, and bread, 
are all that is given out to the lower class of labourers by farmers 
who profess to feed them ; two cow's horns, the most primitive 
form of bottle and cup, are constantly seen suspended on each 

CHAP, xi.] GAZPACHO. 135 

side of their carts, and contain this provision, with which they 
compound their migas : this consists of crumbs of bread fried in 
oil, witli pepper and garlic ; nor can a stronger proof be given 
of the common poverty of tlieir fare tlian tlie common expression, 
" buenas migas hay" there are good crumbs, being equivalent 
to capital eating. In very cold weather the mess is warmed, 
and then is called gazpacho culiente. Oh ! dura messorum ilia 
— oh ! the iron mess digesting stomachs of ploughmen. 

136 WATER. [chap. xii. 


Drinks of Spain — Water — Irrigation — Fountains — Spanish Thirstiness — The 
Alcarraza — Water Carriers — Ablutions — Spanish Chocolate — Agraz — 
Beer Lemonade. 

In dipping into Spanish liquids we shall not mix wine with 
water, but keep them separate, as most Spaniards do ; the latter 
is entitled to rank first, by those who prefer the opinion of Pin- 
dar, who held water to be the best of things, to that of Anacreon, 
who was not member of any temperance society. The profound 
regard for water of a Spaniard is ijuite Oriental ; at the same time, 
as his blood is partly Gothic and partly Arab, his allegiance is 
equally mixed and divided ; thus, if he adores the juice of flints 
like a Moslem, he venerates the juice of the grape like a German. 

Water is the blood of the earth, and the purificator of the 
body in tropical regions and in creeds which, being regulated by 
latitudes, enforce frequent ablution ; loud are the praises of 
Arab writers of wells and water-brooks, and great is their foun- 
tain and pool worship, the dipping in which, if their miraculous 
cases are to be credited, effects more and greater cures than those 
worked by hydropathists at Grafenberg ; a Spaniard's idea of a 
paradise on earth, of a " garden," is a well-watered district ; 
irrigation is fertility and wealth, and therefore, as in the East, 
wells, brooks, and water-courses have been a constant source of 
bickering ; nay the very word rivality has been derived from 
these quarrel and law-suit engendering rivers, as the name given 
to the well for which the men of Gerah and Isaac diftered, was 
called eseh from the contention. 

The flow of waters cannot be mistaken ; the most dreary ste- 
rility edges the most luxuriant plenty, the most liopeless barren- 
ness borders on the richest vegetation; tlie line of demarcation 
is perceived from afar, dividing the tawny desert from the ver- 
durous garden. The Moors who came from the East were fully 
sensible of the value of this element ; they collected the best 


springs with the greatest care, they dammed up narrow gorges 
into reservoirs, they constructed pools and underground cisterns, 
stemmed valleys with aqueducts that poured in rivers, and in a 
word exercised a magic influence over this element, which they 
guided and wielded at their will ; their system of irrigation was 
far too perfect to be improved by Spaniard, or even destroyed. In 
those favoured districts where their artificial contrivances remain, 
Flora still smiles and Ceres rejoices with Pomona ; wherever the 
ravages of war or the neglect of man have ruined them, the gar- 
den has relapsed into the desert, and plains once overflowing with 
corn, gladness, and population, have shrunk into sad and silent 

The fountains of Spain, especially in the hotter and more 
Moorish districts, are numerous ; they cannot fail to strike and 
please the stranger, whether they be situated in the public walk, 
garden, market-place, or private dwelling. Their mode of supply 
is simple : a river which flows down from the hills is diverted at a 
certain height from its source, and is carried in an artificial canal, 
which retains the original elevation, into a reservoir placed above 
the town which is to be served ; as the waters rise to their level, 
the force, body, and altitude of some of the columns tlirown up are 
very great. In our cold country, where, except at Charing Cross, 
the stream is conveyed underground and unseen, all this gush of 
waters, of dropping diamonds in the bright sun, which cools the 
air and gladdens the sight and ear, is unknown. Again there is a 
waste of the " article," which would shock a Chelsea Water- 
works Director, and induce the rate-collector to refer to the fines 
as per Act of Parliament. The fondest wish of those Spaniards 
who wear long-tailed coats, is to imitate those gentry ; they are 
ashamed of the patriarchal uncivilised system of their ancestors — 
much prefer the economical lead pipe to all this extravagant and 
gratuitous splashing — they love a turncock better than the most 
Oriental Rebecca who comes down to draw water. The fountains 
in Spain as in the East are the meeting and greeting places of 
womankind ; here they flock, old and young, infants and grand- 
mothers. It is a sight to drive a water-colour painter crazy, 
such is the colour, costume, and groupings, such is the clatter of 
tongues and crockery ; such is tlie life and action ; now trip along 
a bevy of damsel Hebes with upright forms and chamois step 

138 THIRST. [chap. xn. 

light yet true ; more graceful than opera-dancers, they come 
laugliing and carolling along, poising on their heads pitchers 
modelled after the antique, and after everything which a Sevres 
jug is not. It would seem that to draw water is a difficult ope- 
ration, so long are they lingering near the sweet fountain's rim. 
It indeed is their al fresco rout, their tertulia ; here for awhile 
the hand of woman labour ceases, and the urn stands still ; 
here more than even after church mass, do the young discuss 
their dress and lovers, tlie middle-aged and mothers descant on 
babies and housekeeping ; all talk, and generally at once ; but 
gossip refresheth the daughters of Eve, whether in gilded boudoir 
or near mossy fountain, whose water, if a dash of scandal be 
added, becomes sweeter than eau sucree. 

The Iberians were decided water-drinkers, and this trait of 
their manners, which are modified by climate that changes not, 
still exists as the sun that regulates : the vinous Greek Athenaeus 
was amazed that even rich Spaniards should prefer water to wine ; 
and to this day they are if possible curious about the latter's qua- 
lity ; they will just drink the wine that grows the nearest, while 
they look about and enquire for the best water ; thus even our 
cook Francisco, who certainly had one of the best places in Seville, 
and who although a good artiste was a better rascal — qualities 
not incompatible — preferred to sacrifice his interests rather than 
go to Granada, because this man of the fire had heard that the 
water there was bad. 

The mother of the Arabs was tormented with thirst, which her 
Hispano-Moro children have inherited ; in fact in the dog-days, 
of whicli here there are packs, unless the mortal clay be frequently 
wetted it would crumble to bits like that of a figure modeller. 
Fire and water are the elements of Spain, whether at an auto 
de fe or in a church-stoop ; with a cigar in his mouth a Spaniard 
smokes like Vesuvius, and is as dry, combustible, and inflam- 
matory ; and properly to understand the truth of Solomon's 
remark, that cold water is to a thirsty soul as refreshing as good 
news, one must have experienced what thirst is in the exposed 
plains of the calcined Castiles, where coup de soleil is rife, and a 
gentleman on horseback's brains seem to be melting like Don 
Quixote's when Sancho put the curds into his helmet. It is Just 
the country to send a patient to, who is troubled with hydro- 


phobia. " Those rayes," to use the words of old Howell, " that 
do but warm you in England, do roast you here ; those beams 
that irradiate onely, and gild your honey-suckled fielas, do here 
scorch and parch the chinky gaping soyle, and put too many 
wrinkles upon the face of your common mother." 

Then, when the heavens and eartli are on fire, and the sun 
drinks up rivers at one draught, when one burnt sienna tone per- 
vades the tawny ground, and the green herb is shrivelled up 
into black gunpowder, and the rare pale ashy olive-trees are 
blanched into the livery of the desert ; then, when the Iieat and 
harshness make even the salamander muleteers swear doubly as 
they toil along like demons in an ignited salitrose dust — then, in- 
deed, will an Englishman discover that he is made of the same 
material, only drier, and learn to estimate water ; but a good 
thirst is too serious an evil, too bordering on suffering, to be 
made, like an appetite, a matter of congratulation ; for when all 
fluids evaporate, and the blood thickens into currant jelly, and the 
nerves tighten up into the catgut of an overstrung fiddle, getting 
attuned to the porcupinal irritability of the tension of the mind, 
how the parched soul sighs for the comfort of a Scotch mist, and 
fondly turns back to the uvula-relaxing damps of Devon ! — then, 
in the blackhole-like thirst of the wilderness, every mummy hag 
rushing from a reed hut, with a porous cup of brackish water, is 
changed by the mirage into a Hebe, bearing the nectar of the 
immortals ; then how one longs for the most wretched Venta, 
which heat and thirst convert into the Clarendon, since in it at 
least will be found water and shade, and an escape from the god 
of fire ! Well may Spanish historians boast, that his orb at the 
creation first shone over Toledo, and never since has set on the 
dominions of the great king, wiio, as we are assured by Senor 
Berni, " has the sun for his hat," — tiene al sol por su sombrero ; 
but humbler mortals who are not grandees of this solar system, 
and to whom a coup de soleil is neither a joke nor a metaphor, 
should stow away non-conductors of heat in the crown of their 
beavers. Tims Apollo himself preserved us. And oh ! ye our 
fair readers, who chance to run such risks, and value complexion, 
take for heaven's sake a parasol and an Alcarraza. 

This clay utensil — as its Arabic name al Karaset implies — is a 
porous refrigeratory vessel, in which water when placed in a current 

140 SPANISH WATER-SELLERS. [chap. xii. 

of hot air becomes cliilled by evaporation ; it is to be seen hung 
up on poles dangling from branches, suspended to waggons — 
in siiort, is part and parcel of a Spanish scene in hot weather and 
localities ; every posada has rows of them at the entrance, and 
the first thing every one does on entering, before wishing even 
the hostess Good morning, or asking permission, is to take a full 
draught : all classes are learned on the subject, and although on 
the whole they cannot be accused of teetotalism, tliey are loud 
in their praises of the pure fluid. The common form of praise 
is agua muy rica — very rich water. According to their pro- 
verbs, good water should have neither taste, smell, nor colour, 
" ni sabor, olor, ni color^^ which neither makes men sick nor in 
debt, nor women widows, " que no enferma, no adeuda, no 
enviuda ;" and besides being cheaper than wine, beer, or brandy, 
it does not brutalize the consumer, nor deprive him of his com- 
mon sense or good manners. 

As Spaniards at all times are as dry as the desert or a sponge, 
selling water is a very active business; on every alam&da and 
prado shi'ill voices of the sellers of drinks and mouth combustibles 
— vendedores de combustibles de boca — are heard crying, " Fire, 
fire, candela — Water ; who wants water ?" — agtia ; quien quiere 
agua ? which, as these Orientals generally exaggerate, is described 
as mas fresca que la nieve, or colder than snow ; and near them 
little Murillo-like urchins run about with lighted ropes like artil- 
lerymen for the convenience of smokers, that is, for every ninety 
and nine males out of a liundred ; while water-carriers, or rather 
retail pedestrian aqueducts, follow thirst like fire-engines ; the 
Aguador carries on his back, like his colleague in the East, a 
porous water-jar, with a little cock by which it is drawn out ; he 
is usually provided with a small tin box strapped to his waist, 
and in which he stows away his glasses, brushes, and some light 
azucarillos — jmnales, which are made of sugar and white of egg, 
which Spaniards dip and dissolve in their drink. In the town, 
at particular stations water-mongers in wholesale have a shed, 
with ranges of jars, glasses, oranges, lemons, &c., and a bench or 
two on which the drinkers " untire tliemselves." In winter 
these are provided with an anafe or portable stove, which keeps 
a supply of hot water, to take the chill off the cold, for Spaniards, 
from a sort of dropsical habit,, drink like fishes all the year round. 


Ferdinand the Citholic, on seeing a peasant drowned in a river, 
observed, " that he had never before seen a Spaniard who had 
had enough water." 

At the same time it must be remembered that this fluid is 
applied with greater prodigality in washing their inside than 
their outside. Indeed, a classical author remarks that the 
Spaniards only learnt the use of hot water, as applicable to the 
toilette, from the Romans after the second Punic war. Their 
baths and thermce were destroyed by the Goths, because they 
tended to encourage effeminacy ; and those of the Moors were 
prohibited by the Gotho-Spaniards partly from similar reasons, 
but more from a religious hydrophobia. Ablutions and lustral 
purifications formed an article of faith with the Jew and 
Moslem, with whom "cleanliness is godliness." The mendicant 
Spanish monks, according to their practice of setting up a 
directly antagonist principle, considered pliysical dirt as the test 
of moral purity and true faith ; and by dining and sleeping from 
year's end to year's end in the same unchanged woollen frock, 
arrived at the height of their ambition, according to their view 
of the odour of sanctity, insomuch that Ximenez, who was him- 
self a shirtless Franciscan, induced Ferdinand and Isabella, at 
the conquest of Granada, to close and abolish the Moorisli baths. 
They forbade not only the Christians but the Moors from using 
anything but holy water. Fire, not water, became the grand 
element of inquisitorial purification. 

The fair sex was warned by monks, who practised what they 
preached, that thej' shoultl remember the cases of Susanna, Bath- 
sheba, and La Cava, whose fatal bathing under the royal palace 
at Toledo led to the downfall of the Gothic monarchy. Their 
aqueous anathemas extended not only to public, l)ut to minutely 
private washings, regarding which Sanchez instructs the Spanish 
confessor to question his fair penitents, and not to absolve the 
over-washed. Many instances could be produced of the prac- 
tical working of this enjoined rule ; for instance, Isabella, the 
favourite daughter of Philip II., Iris eye, as he called her, made 
a solemn vow never to change her shift until Ostend was taken. 
The siege lasted three years, three months, and thirteen days. The 
royal garment acquired a tawny colour, which was called Isabel 
by the courtiers, in compliment to tlie pious princess. Again, 
Soutbey relates that the devout Saint Eufi axia entered into a 

142 CHOCOLATE. [chap. xn. 

convent of 1 30 nuns, not one of whom had ever washed her feet, 
and the very mention of a bath was an abomination. These 
obedient daughters to their Capucliin confessors were what Gil de 
Avila termed a sweet garden of flowers, perfumed by the good 
smell and reputation of sanctity, '■'■ ameno jardin de Jlores, olo- 
rosas por el buen odor y fama de santidad.'' Justice to the land 
of Castile soap requires us to observe that latterly, since the 
suppression of monks, both sexes, and the fair especially, have 
departed from the strict observance of the religious duties of 
their excellent grandmothers. Warm baths are now pretty gene- 
rally established in the larger towns. At the same time, the 
interiors of bedrooms, whether in inns or private houses, as well 
by the striking absence of glass and china utensils, which to 
English notions are absolute necessaries, as by the presence of 
French pie-dish basins, and duodecimo jugs, indicate that this 
" little damned spot " on the average Spanish hand, has not yet 
been quite rubbed out. 

However hot the day, dusty the road, or long the journey, it 
has never been our fate to see a Spanish attendant use a single 
drop of water as a detergent, or, as polite writers say, " perform 
his ablutions ;" the constant habit of bathing and complete wash- 
ing is undoubtedly one reason why the French and other conti- 
nentals consider our soap-loving countrymen to be cracked. 
Under the Spanish Goths the Hemerobaptistae, or people who 
washed their persons once a day, were set down as heretics. The 
Duke of Frias, when a few years ago on a fortnight's visit to an 
English lady, never once troubled his basins and jugs ; he simply 
rubbed his face occasionally with the white of an e^^, which, as 
Madame Daunoy records, was the only ablution of the Spanish 
ladies in the time of Philip IV. ; but these details of the dressing- 
room are foreign to the use made in Spain of liquids in kitchen 
and parlour. 

One word on chocolate, which is to a Spaniard m hat tea is to 
a Briton — coffee to a Gaul. It is to be had almost everywhere, 
and is always excellent ; the best is made by the nuns, who are 
great confectioners and compounders of sweetmeats, sugarplums 
and orange-flowers, water and comfits, 

" Et tous ces mets sucres en pate, ou bien liquides, 
Dont estomacs de'vots furent toujours avides." 

It was long a disputed point whether chocolate did or did not 


break fast theologically, just as happened with coffee among the 
rigid Moslems. But since the learned Escobar decided that 
liquidum non rumpit jejunium, a liquid does not break fast, it has 
become the universal breakfast of Spain. It is made just liquid 
enough to come within the benefit of clergy, that is, a spoon will 
almost stand up in it ; only a small cup is taken, una jicara, a 
Mexican word for the cocoa-nuts of which they were first made, 
generally with a bit of toasted bread or biscuit : as these jicaras 
have seldom any handles, they were used by the rich (as coffee- 
cups are among the Orientals) enclosed in little filigree cases of 
silver or gold ; some of these are very beautiful, made in the 
form of a tulip or lotus leaf, on a saucer of mother-o'-pearl. 
The flower is so contrived that, by a spring underneath, on 
raising the saucer, the leaves fall back and disclose the cup to 
the lips, while, when put down, they re-close over it, and form a 
protection against the flies. A glass of water should always be 
drunk after this chocolate, since the aqueous chasse neutralizes 
the bilious propensities of this breakfast of the gods, as Linnaeus 
called chocolate. Tea and coffee have supplanted chocolate in 
England and France ; it is in Spain alone that we are carried 
back to the breakfasts of Belinda and of the wits at Button's ; 
in Spain exist, unchanged, the fans, the game of ombre, tresillo, 
and the coche dc colleras, the coach and six, and other social 
usages of the age of Pope and the ' Spectator.' 

Cold liquids in the hot dry summers of Spain are necessaries 
not luxuries ; snow and iced drinks are sold in the streets at 
prices so low as to be within the reach of the poorest classes ; the 
rich refrigerate themselves with agraz. This, the Moorish 
Hacaraz, is the most delicious and most refreshing drink ever 
devised by thirsty mortal ; it is the new pleasure for which 
Xerxes wished in vain, and beats the " hock and soda water," 
the " hoc erat in votis" of Byron, and sherry cobler itself. It is 
made of pounded unripe grapes, clarified sugar, and water ; it is 
strained till it becomes of the palest straw-coloured amber, and 
well iced. It is particularly well made in Andalucia, and it is 
worth going there in the dog-days, if only to drink it — it cools a 
man's body and soul. At Madrid an agreeable drink is sold in 
the streets ; it is called Michi Michi, from the Valencian Mitj e 
Mitj, " half and half," and is as unlike the heavy wet mixture of 

144 ICED LEMONADE. [chap. xii. 

London, as a coal-porter is to a pretty fair Valenciana. It is 
made of equal portions of barley-water and orgeat of Chvfas, 
and is highly iced. The Spaniards, among other cooling fruits, 
eat their strawberries mixed with sugar and the juice of oranges, 
which will be found a more agreeable addition than the wine 
used by the French, or the cream of the English, — the one heats, 
and the other, whenever it is to be had, makes a man bilious in 
Spain. Spanish ices, he/ados, are apt to be too sweet, nor is the 
sugar well refined ; the ices, when frozen very hard and in small 
forms, either representing fruits or shells, are called quesos, 

Another favourite drink is a weak bottled beer mixed with iced 
lemonade. Spaniards, however, are no great drinkers of beer, 
notwithstanding that their ancestors drank more of it than wine, 
which was not then either so plentiful or imiversal as at the pre- 
sent ; this substitute cf grapeless countries passed from the 
Egyptians and Carthaginians into Spain, where it was excellent, 
and kept well. The vinous Roman soldiers derided the beer- 
drinking Iberians, just as the French did the English before the 
battle of Agincourt. " Can sodden water — barley-broth — decoct 
their cold blood to such valiant heat?" Polybius sneers at the 
magnificence of a Spanish king, because his home was furnished 
with silver and gold vases full of beer, of barley-wine. The 
genuine Goths, as happens everywhere to this day, were great 
swillers of ale and beer, heady and stupifying mixtures, accord- 
ing to Aristotle. Their archbishop, St. Isidore, distinguished 
between celia ceria, the ale, and cerhisia, beer, whence the pre- 
sent word cerheza is derived. Spanish beer, like many other 
Spanish matters, has now become small. Strong English beer 
is rare and dear ; among one of the infinite ingenious absurdities 
of Spanisli customs' law, English beer in barrels used to be pro- 
hibited, as were English bottles if empty — but jiroliibited beer, in 
prohibited bottles, was admissible, on the principle that two fiscal 
negatives made an exchequer afllirmative. 



Spanish Wines — Spanish Indifference — Wine-making — Vins du Pays — 
Local Wines — Benicarlo — Valdepenas. 

The wines of Spain deserve a chapter to tliemselves. Sherry 
indeed is not less popular among us than Murillo, in spite of the 
numbers of bad copies of the one, which are passed off for un- 
doubted originals, and butts of the other, which are sold neat as 
imported. The Spaniard himself is neither curious in port, nor 
particular in Madeira ; he prefers quantity to quality, and loves 
flavour much less tiian he hates trouble ; a cellar in a private 
house, of rare fine or foreign wines, is perhaps a greater curiosity 
tlian a library of ditto books ; an hidalgo with twenty names 
simply sends out before his frugal meal for a quart of wine to 
the nearest shop, as a small burgess does in the City for a pint 
of porter. Local in every thing, the Spaniard takes the goods 
that the gods provide him, just as they come to hand ; lie drinks 
the wine that grows in the nearest vineyards, and if there are 
none, then regales himself with the water from the least distant 
spring. It is so in everytliing ; he adds the smallest possible 
exertion of his own to the bounties of nature ; his object is to 
obtain the largest produce for the smallest labour ; he allows a 
life-conferring sun and a fertile soil to create for him the raw 
material, which he exports, being perfectly contented that the 
foreigner should return it to him when recreated by art and 
industry; thus his wool, barilla, hides, and cork -bark, are im- 
ported by him back again in the form of cloth, glass, leather, 
and bungs. 

The most celebrated and perfect wines of the Peninsula are 
port and sherry, which owe their excellence to foreign, not to 
native skill, the principal growers and makers being Europeans, 
and their system altogether un-Spanish ; notiiing can be more 
rude, antique, and unscientific, than the wine-making in those 

146 WINES OF SPAIN. [chap. xm. 

localities where no stranger has ever settled. But Spain is a 
land bottled up for antiquarians, and it must be confessed that 
the national process is very picturesque and classical ; no 
Ariadne revel of Titian is more glittering or animated, no bas- 
relief more classical in which sacrifices are celebrated 
" To Bacchus, who first from out the purple grape 
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine." 

Often have we ridden through villages redolent with vinous 
aroma, and inundated witli the blood of the berry, until the very- 
mud was encarnadined ; what a busy scene ! Donkeys laden with 
panniers of the ripe fruit, damsels bending under heavy baskets, 
men with reddened legs and arms, joyous and jovial as satyrs, 
hurry jostling on to the rude and dirty vat, into which the fruit 
is thrown indiscriminately, the black-coloured with the white 
ones, the ripe bunches with the sour, the sound berries with 
those decayed ; no pains are taken, no selection is made ; the 
filth and negligence are commensurate with this carelessness ; the 
husks are either trampled under naked feet or pressed out under 
a rude beam ; in botli cases every refining operation is left to 
the fermentation of nature, for there is a divinity that shapes our 
ends, rough hew them how we may. 

The wines of Spain, under a latitude where a fine season is a 
certainty, might rival those of France, and still more those of 
the Rhine, where a good vintage is the exception, not the rule. 
Their varieties are infinite, since few districts, unless those that 
are very elevated, are without their local produce, the names, 
colours, and flavours of which are equally numerous and varied. 
The thirsty traveller, after a long day's ride under a burning 
sun, when seated quietly down to a smoking peppery dish, is 
enchanted with the cool draught of these vins du pays, which 
are brought fresh to him from the skins or amphora jars ; he 
longs to transport the apparently divine nectar to his own home, 
and wonders that " the trade " should have overlooked such de- 
licious wine. Those who have tried the experiment will find a 
sad change for the worse come over the spirit of their dream, when 
the long-expected importation greets their papillatory organs in 
London. There the illusion is dispelled ; there to a cloyed 
fastidious taste, to a judgment bewildered and frittered away by 
variety of the best vintages, how flat, stale, and unprofitable 


does this much-fancied beverage appear ! The truth is, that its 
merit consists in the thirst and drinking vein of the traveller 
rather than in the wine itself. Those therefore of our readers 
whose cellars are only stocked with choice Bordeaux, Xerez, 
and Champagne, may sustain with resignation the absence of 
other sorts of Spanish grape juice. If an exception is to be 
made, let it be only in favour of Valdepenas and Manzanilla. 

The local wines may therefore be tossed off rapidly. The 
Navarrese drink their Peralta, the Basques their Chacolet, which 
is a poor vin ordinaire and inferior to our good cider. The 
Arragonese are supplied from the vineyards of Carinena ; the 
Catalans, from those of Sidges and Benicarlo ; the former is a 
rich sweet wine, with a peculiar aromatic flavour ; the latter is 
the well-known black strap, which is exported largely to Bor- 
deaux to enrich clarets for our vitiated taste, and as it is rich 
red, and full flavoured, much comes to England to concoct what 
is denominated curious old port by those who sell it. The fiery 
and acrid brandy which is made from this Benicarlo is sent to 
the bay of Cadiz to the tune of 1000 butts a year to doctor up 
worse slierry. 

The central provinces of Spain consume but little of these ; 
Leon has a wine of its own which grows chiefly near Zamora 
and Toro, and it is much drunk at the neighbouring and learned 
university of Salamanca, where, as it is strong and heady, it pro- 
motes prejudice, as port is said to do elsewhere. Madrid is 
supplied with wines grown at Tarancon, Arganda, and other 
places in its immediate vicinity, and those of the latter are fre- 
quently substituted for the celebrated Valdepenas of La Mancha, 
which was mother's milk to Sancho Panza and his two eminent 
progenitors ; they differed, as their worthy descendant informed 
the Knight of the "Wood, on the merits of a cask ; one of them 
just dipped his tongue into the wine, and affirmed that it had a 
taste of iron ; the other merely applied his nose to the bung- 
hole, and was positive that it smacked of leather ; in due time 
when the barrel was emptied, a key tied to a thong confirmed 
the degustatory acumen of these connoisseurs. 

The red blood of this " valley of stones" issues with such 
abundance, that quantities of old wine are often thrown away, for 
the want of skins, jars, and casks into which to place the new. 

J. 2 

148 THE BEST VINEYARDS. [chap. xin. 

From the scarcity of fuel in these denuded plains, the prunings 
of the vine are sometimes as valuable as the grapes. Even at 
Valdepenas, with Madrid for its customer, the wine continues to 
be made in an unscientific, careless manner. Before the French 
invasion, a Dutchman, named Muller, had begun to improve the 
system, and better prices were obtained ; whereupon the lower 
classes, in 1808, broke open his cellars, pillaged them, and 
nearly killed him because he made wine dearer. It is made of 
a Burgundy grape which has been transplanted and transported 
from the stinted suns of fickle France, to the certain and glorious 
summers of La Mancha. The genuine wdne is rich, full-bodied, 
and high-coloured. It will keep pretty well, and improves for 
four or five years, nay, longer. To be really enjoyed it must 
be drunk on the spot ; the curious in wine should go down into 
one of the cuevas or cave-cellars, and have a goblet of the ruby 
fluid drawn from the big-bellied jar. The wine, when taken to 
distant places, is almost always adulterated ; and at Madrid with 
a decoction of log-wood, which makes it almost poisonous, acting 
upon the nerves and muscular system. 

The best vineyards and bodegas or cellars are those which did 
belong to Don Carlos, and those wliich do belong to the Marques 
de Santa Cruz. One anecdote will do the work of pages in 
setting fortli the habitual indifference of Spaniards, and the way 
things are managed for them. This very nobleman, who cer- 
taiuly was one of the most distinguislied among tlie grandees in 
rank and talent, was dining one day with a foreign ambassador 
at Madrid, who was a decided admirer of Valdepeiias, as all 
judicious men must be, and who took great pains to procure it 
quite pure by sending down trusty persons and sound casks. The 
Marques at the first glass exclaimed, " What capital wine ! 
where do you manage to buy it in Madrid ?" " I send for it," 
was the reply, " to your administrador at Valdepeilas, Anglice 
unjust steward, and shall be very happy to get you some." 

The wine is worth on the spot about 5/. the pipe, but the land 
carriage is expensive, and it is apt, when conveyed in skins, to 
be tapped and watered by the muleteers, besides imbibing the 
disagreeable smack of the pitched pigskin. The only way to 
secure a pure, unadulterated, legitimate article, is to send up 
double quarter sherry casks ; the wine is then put into one, and 


that again is protected by an outer cask, which acts as a pre- 
ventive guard, against gimlets, straws, and other ingenious con- 
trivances for extracting the vinous contents, and for introducing 
an aqueous substitute. It must then be conveyed either on 
mules or in waggons to Cadiz and Santander. It is always as 
well to send for two casks, as accidents in this pays de Vimprevu 
constantly happen where wine and women are in the case. The 
importer will receive the most satisfactory certificates signed and 
sealed on paper, first duly stamped, in which the alcalde, the 
nmleteer, the guardia, and all who have shared in the booty, will 
minutely describe and prove the accident, be it an upset, a 
breaking of casks, or what not. Very little pure Valdepenas 
ever reaches England ; the numerous vendors' bold asser- 
tions to the contrary notwithstanding. As sherry is a subject 
of more general interest, it will be treated with somewhat more 

150 SHERRY. [chap, xiv 


Sherry Wines — The Sherry District — Origin of the Name — Varieties of 
Soil — Of Grapes — Pajarete — Rojas Clemente — Cultivation of Vines — 
Best Vineyards — The Vintage — Amontillado — The Capataz — The Bo- 
dega — Sherry Wine — Arrope and Madre Vino — A Lecture on Sherry in 
the Cellar — at the Table — Price of Fine Sherry — Falsification of Sherry 
— Manzanilla — The Alpistera, 

Sherry, a wine which requires more explanation tiian many of 
its consumers imagine, is grown in a limited nook of the Penin- 
sula, on the south-western corner of sunny Andalucia, which 
occupies a range of country of which the town of Xerez is the 
capital and centre. The wine-producing districts extend over a 
space which is included — consult a map — within a boundary 
drawn from the towns of Puerto de S"*- Maria, Rota, San Lucar, 
Tribujena, Lebrija, Arcos, and to the Puerto again. The finest 
vintages lie in the immediate vicinity of Xerez, which has given 
therefore its name to tlie general produce. The wine, however, 
becomes inferior in proportion as the vineyards get more distant 
from this central point. 

Although some authors — who, to show their learning, hunt 
for Greek etymologies in every word — have derived sherry from 
Sr/poc, dry, to have done so from the Persian Schiraz would 
scarcely have been more far-fetched. Sliei'ris sack, the term 
used by Falstaff, no mean authority in this matter, is the precise 
seco de Xerez, the term by which the wine is known to this day 
in its own country ; the epithet seco, or dry — the seek of old 
English authors, and the sec of French ones — being used in 
contradistinction to the sweet malvoisies and muscadels, Avhich 
are also made of the same grape. The wine, it is said, was first 
introduced into England about the time of Henry VII., whose 
close alliance with Ferdinand and Isabella was cemented by the 
marriage of his son with their daughter. It became still more 
popular among us under Elizabeth, when those who sailed under 


Essex sacked Cadiz in 1596, and brought home the fashion of 
g-ood " sherris sack, from whence," as Sir John says, " comes 
valour." The visit to Spain of Charles I. contributed to keep- 
ing up among his countrymen this taste for the drinks of the 
Peninsula, which extended into the provinces, as we find liowell 
writing from York, in 1645, for "a barrel! or two of oysters, 
which shall be well eaten," as he assures his friend, " with a cup 
of the best sherry, to which this town is altogether addicted." 
During the wars of the succession, and those fatal quarrels with 
England occasioned by the French alliance and family compact of 
Charles III., our consumption of sherries was much diminished, 
and the culture of the vine and the wine-making was neglected 
and deteriorated. It was restored at the end of last century by 
the family of Gordon, whose houses at Xerez and the Puerto 
most deservedly rank among the first in the country. The 
improved quality of the wines was their own recommendation ; 
but as fashion influences everything, their vogne was finally esta- 
blished by Lord Holland, who, on his return from Spain, intro- 
duced superlative sherry at his undeniable table. 

The quality of the wine depends on the grape and the soil, 
which has been examined and analysed by competent chemists. 
Omitting minute and uninteresting particulars, tlie first class and 
the best is termed the Albariza ; this whitish soil is composed of 
clay mixed with carbonate of lime and silex. The second sort 
is called Barras, and consists of sandy quartz, mixed with lime 
and oxide of iron. The third is the Arenas, being, as the name 
indicates, little better than sand, and is by far the most widely 
extended, especially about San Lucar, Rota, and the back of 
Arcos ; it is the most productive, although the wine is gene- 
rally coarse, thin, and ill-flavoured, and seldom improves after 
the third year : it forms the substratum of those inferior sherries 
which are largely exported to the discredit of tiie real article. 
The fourth class of soil is limited in extent, and is the Bugeo, 
or dark-brown loamy sand which occurs on the sides of rivulets 
and hillocks. The wine grown on it is poor and weak ; yet all 
the inferior produces of these different districts are sold as sherry 
wines, to the great detriment of those really produced near Xerez 
itself, which do not amount to a fifth of the quantity exported. 

The varieties of the grape are far greater than those of the soil 

152 VINES OF ANDALUCIA. [chap. xiy. 

on which they are grown. Of more than a hundred different 
kinds, those called Listaii and Palomina Blanca are the best. 
The increased demand for sherry, where the jiroducing surface 
is limited, has led to the extirpation of many vines of an inferior 
kind, which have been replaced by new ones whose produce is of 
a larger and better quality. The Pedro Ximenez^ or delicious 
sweet-tasted grape which is so celebrated, came originally from 
Madeira, and was planted on the Rhine, from whence about two 
centuries ago one Peter Simon brought it to Malaga, since when 
it has extended over the south of Spain. It is of this grape that 
the rich and luscious sweet wine called Pajarete is made ; a 
name which some have erroneously derived from Pajaros, the 
birds, who are wont to pick the ripest berries ; but it was so 
called from the wine having been originally only made at 
Paxarete, a small spot near Xerez : it is now prepared every- 
where, and thus the grapes are dried in the sun until they 
almost become raisins, and the syrop quite inspissated, after that 
they are pressed, and a little fine old wine and brandy is added. 
This wine is extremely costly, as it is much used in the rearing 
and maturation of young sherry wines. 

There is an excellent account of all the vines of Andalucia by 
Rojas Clemente. This able naturalist disgraced himself by being 
a base toady of the wretched minion Godoy, and by French 
partisanship, which is high treason to his own country. Accord- 
ingly, to please his masters, he " contrasts the frank generosity, 
the vivacity, and genial cordiality of the Xerezanos, with the 
sombre stupidity and ferocious egotism of the insolent people on 
the banks of tlie Thames," by whom he had just before been 
most hospitably welcomed. This worthy gentleman wrote, how- 
ever, within sight of Trafalgar, and while a certain untoward 
event was rankling in his and his estimable patron's bosom. 

The vines are cultivated with the greatest care, and demand 
unceasing attention, from the first planting to their final decay. 
They generally fruit about the fifth year, and continue in full 
and excellent bearing for about thirty-five years more, when the 
produce begins to diminish both in quantity and in quality. The 
best wines are produced from the slowest ripening grapes ; the 
vines are delicate, have a true baccliic hydrophobia, or antipathy 
to water — are easily affected and injured by bad smells and rank 


weeds. Tiie vine-dresser enjoys little rest ; at one time the soil 
must be trenclied and kept clean, then the vines must be pruned, 
and tied to the stakes, to which they are trained very low ; anon 
insects must be destroyed ; and at last the fruit has to be gathered 
and crushed. It is a life of constant care, labour, and ex- 

The highest qualities of flavour depend on the grape and soil, 
and as the favoured spots are limited, and the struggle and com- 
petition for their acquisition great, the prices paid are always 
high, and occasionally extravagantly so ; the proprietors of vine- 
yards are very numerous, and the surface is split and partitioned 
into infinite petty ownerships. Even the Pago de Machar7iudo, 
the finest of all, the Clos de Vougeot, the Johannisberg of Xerez, 
is much subdivided ; it consists of 1200 aranzadas, one of which 
may be taken as equivalent to our acre, being, however, that 
quantity of land which can be ploughed with a pair of bullocks 
in a day — of these 1200, 460 belong to the great house of Pedro 
Domecq, and their mean produce may be taken at 1895 butts, of 
which some 350 only will run very fine. Among the next most 
renowned jjagos, or wine districts, may be cited Carrascal, Los 
Tercios, Barbiana alta y baja, Ariina, San Julian, Mochiele, 
Carraola, Cruz del Husillo, which lie in the immediate termino 
or boundary of Xerez ; their produce always ensures high prices 
in the market. Many of these vineyards are fenced with canes, 
the arundo donax, or with aloes, whose stiflf-pointed leaves form 
palisadoes that would defy a regiment of dragoons, and are called 
by tlie natives the devil's toothpicks ; in addition, the capataz 
del campo, or country bailiff", is provided, like a keeper, with 
large and ferocious dogs, who would tear an intruder to pieces. 
The fruit when nearly mature is especially watched ; for, accord- 
ing to the proverb, it requires much vigilance to take care of 
ripe grapes and maidens— iV/^cM y vinas, son mal de guardar. 

When the period of the vintage arrives, the cares of the pro- 
prietors and the labours of the cultivators and makers increase. 
The bunches are picked and spread out for some days on 
mattings; the unripe grapes, which have less substance and 
spirit, are separated, and are exposed longer to the sun, by which 
they improve. If the berries be over-ripe, then the saccharine 
prevails, and there is a deficiency of tartaric acid. The selected 

154 THE VINTAGE. [chap. xiv. 

grapes are sprinkled with lime, by which tlie watery and acetous 
particles are absorbed and corrected. A nice hand is requisite 
in this powdering, w^hich, by the way, is an ancient African 
custom, in order to avoid the imputation of Falstaff, " There is 
lime in this sack." The treading out the fruit is generally 
done by night, because it is then cooler, and in order to avoid 
as much as possible the plague of wasps, by whom the half- 
naked operators are liable to be stung. On the larger vineyards 
there is generally a jumble of buildings, which contain every 
requisite for making the wine, as well as cellars into which the 
must or pressed grape juice is left to pass the stages of ferment- 
ation, and wliere it remains until the following spring before it 
is removed from the lees. When the new wine is racked off", all 
the produce of the same vineyard and vintage is housed together, 
and called a partido or lot. 

The vintage, whicli is the all-absorbing, all-engrossing moment 
of the j'ear, occupies about a fortnight, and is earlier in the 
Rota districts than at Xerez, where it commences about the 20th 
of September; into these brief moments the hearts, bodies, and 
souls of men are condensed ; even Venus, the queen of neigh- 
bouring Cadiz, and who during the other three hundred and 
fifty-one days of the year, allies herself willingly to Bacchus, is 
now forgotten. Nobles and commoners, merchants and priests, 
talk of nothing but wine, which then and there monopolises man, 
and is to Xerez wliat the water is at Grand Cairo, where the 
rising of the Nile is at once a pleasure and a profit. When the 
vintage is concluded, the custom-house officers take note in 
their respective districts of the quantity produced on each vine- 
yard, to whom it is sold, and where it is taken to ; nor can it be 
resold or removed afterwards, without a permit and a charge of a 
four per cent, ad valorem duty. It need not be said, that in a 
land where public officers are inadequately paid, where official 
honesty and principle are all but unknown, a bribe is all-sufficient ; 
false returns are regularly made, and every trick resorted to to 
facilitate trade, and transfer revenue into the pockets of the col- 
lectors, rather than into the Queen's treasury ; thus are defeated 
the vexations and extortions of commerce-hampering excise, to 
hate which seems to be a second nature in man all over the world. 
Commissioners excepted. In the first year a decided difference 


takes place in these new wines ; some become bastos or coarse, 
others sour and others good ; those only which exhibit great 
delicacy, body, and flavour are called Jinos or fine ; in a lot of 
one hundred butts, rarely more than from ten to fifteen can be 
calculated as deserving this epithet, and it is to the high price 
paid for these by the almacenistas or storers of wines, that the 
grower looks for remuneration ; the qualities of the wines usually 
produced in each particular termino or district do not vary much ; 
they have their regular character and prices among the trade, by 
whom they are perfectly understood and exactly valued. 

These singular changes in the juice of grapes grown on the 
same vineyard, invariably take place, although no satisfactory 
reason has been yet assigned ; the chemical processes of nature 
have hitherto defied the investigations of man, and in nothing 
more than in the elaboration of that lusus naturae vel Bacchi, 
that variety of flavour which goes by the name of amontillado ; 
this has been given to it from its resemblance in dryness and 
quality to the wines of Montilla, near Cordova : the latter, be it 
observed, are scarcely known in England at all, nor indeed in 
Spain, except in their own immediate neighbourhood, where 
they supply the local consumption. This amontillado, when 
the genuine production of nature, is very valuable, as it is used 
in correcting yovmg Sherry wines, whicli are running over sweet ; 
it is very scarce, since out of a hundred butts of vmojino, not 
more than five will possess its properties. Much of the wine 
which is sold in London as pure amontillado, is a fictitious pre- 
paration, and made up for the British market. 

All sherries are a matured mixture of grape juice ; champagne 
itselfis a manufactured wine ; nor does it much matter, provided a 
palateable and wholesome beverage be produced. In all the lead- 
ing and respectable houses, the wine is prepared from grapes grown 
in the district, nor is there the slightest mystery made in explaining 
the artificial processes which are adopted ; the rearing, educating 
and finishing, as it were, of these wines, is a work of many years, 
and is generally intrusted to the Capataz, the chief butler, or 
head man, who very often becomes the real master ; this import- 
ant personage is seldom raised in Andalucia, or in any wine- 
growing districts of Spain ; he generally is by birth an Asturian, 
or a native of the mountains contiguous to Santander, from 

156 THE CAPATAZ. [chap. xiv. 

whence the chandlers and grocers, hence called Los Montaiieses, 
are supplied throughout the Peninsula. These Highlanders 
are celebrated for the length of their pedigrees, and the tasting 
properties of their tongues ; we have more than once in Estre- 
raadura and Leon fallen in with flights of these ragged gentry, 
wending, Scotch-like, to the south in search of fortune ; few had 
shoes or shirts, yet almost every one carried his family parch- 
ment in a tin case, wherein his descent from Tubal — respectable, 
although doubtful — was proven to be as evident as the sun is at 
noon day. 

These gentlemen of good birth and better taste seldom smoke, 
as the narcotic stupifying weed deadens papillatory delicacy. 
Now as few wine-masters in Spain would give up the cigar to 
gain millions, the Capataz soon becomes the sole possessor of 
the secrets of the cellar ; and as no merchants possess vineyards 
of their own sufl[icient to supply their demand, the purchases of 
new wines must be made by this confidential servant, who is 
thus enabled to cheat both the grower and his own employer, 
since he will only buy of those who give him the largest com- 
mission. Many contrive by these long and faithful services to 
amass great wealth ; thus Juan Sanchez, the Capataz of the late 
Petro Domecq, died recently worth 300,000/. Towards his 
latter end, having been visited by his confessor and some 
qualms of conscience, he bequeathed his fortune to pious and 
charitable uses, but the bulk was forthwith secured by his at- 
torneys and priests, whose charity began at home. 

As the chancellor is the keeper of the Queen's conscience, so 
the Capataz is the keeper of tlie hodega or the wine-store, 
which is very peculiar, and the grand lion of Xerez. The rich 
and populous town, when seen from afar, rising in its vine-clad 
knoll, is characterised by these huge erections, that look like 
the pent-houses under which men-of-war are built at Chatham. 
These temples of Bacchus resemble cathedrals in size and lofti- 
ness, and their divisions, like Spanish chapels, bear the names of 
the saints to whom they are dedicated, and few tutelar deities 
have more numerous or more devout worshippers ; but Romanism 
mixes itself up in everything of Spain, and fixes its mark alike 
on salt-pans and mine shafts, as on boats and bodegas. These 
huge repositories are all above ground, and are the antithesis of 



our under-ground cellars. The wines of Xerez are thus found 
to ripen both better and quicker, as one year in a bodega inspires 
them with more life than do ten years of burial. As these 
wines are more capricious in the development of their character 
than young ladies at a boarding-school, the greatest care is taken 
in the selection of eligible and healthy situations for their educa- 
tion ; the neighbourhood of all oflensive drains or effluvia is care- 
fully avoided, since these nuisances are sure to affect the delicately 
organised fluids, although they fail to damage the noses of those 
to whose charge they are committed ; and strange to say, in this 
land of contradictions, Cologne itself is scarcely more renowned 
for its twenty and odd bad smells ascertained by Coleridge, than 
is this same tortuous, dirty, and old-fashioned Xerez. Here, as 
in the Rhenish city, all the sweets are bottled up for exportation, 
all the stinks kept for home consumption. The new bodegas are 
consequently erected in tlie newer portions of the town, in dry and 
open places ; connected with them are offices and workshops, in 
which everything bearing upon the wine trade is manufactured, 
even to the barrels that are made of American oak staves. The 
interior of the bodega is kept deliciously cool ; the glare outside 
is carefully excluded, wh.ile a free circulation of air is admitted ; 
an even temperature is very essential, and one at an average of 
60 degrees is the best of all. There are more than a thousand 
bodegas registered at the custom house for the Xerez district ; 
the largest only belong to the first-rate firms, and mostly to 
Europeans, that is, to English and Frenchmen. A heavy capital 
is required, much patience and forethought, qualities which do 
not grow on these or on any hills of Spain. This necessity will 
be better understood when it is said, that some of these stores 
contain from one to four thousand butts, and that few really 
fine sherries are sent out of them until ten or twelve years 
old. Supposing, therefore, that each butt averages in value only 
25/., it is evident how much time and investment of wealth is 

Sherry wine, when mature and perfect, is made up from many 
butts. The " entire," indeed, is the result of Xerez grapes, but 
of many different ages, vintages, and varieties of flavour. The 
contents of one barrel serve to correct another until the pro- 
posed standard aggregate is produced ; and to such a certainty 

158 WINE-MIXING. [chap, xiv 

has this uniform admixture been reduced, that houses are enabled 
to supply for any number of years exactly that particular colour, 
flavour, body, &c., wliich particular customers demand. This 
wine improves very much with age, gets softer and more aromatic, 
and gains both body and aroma, in which its young wines are 
deficient. Indeed, so great is the change in all respects, that one 
scarcely can believe them ever to have been the same : the baby 
differs not more from the man, nor the oak from the acorn. 

That Capataz has attained the object of his fondest wishes, 
who has observed in his compositions the poetical principles of 
Horace, the calUda junctura, the onuie tulit jmnctum qui mis- 
cuit utile dulci ; this happy and skilful junction of the sweet and 
solid, should unite fulness of body, an oily, nutty flavour and 
bouquet, dryness, absence from acidity, strength, durability, 
and spirituosity. Very little brandy is necessary, as the vivifying 
power of the imstinted sun of Andalucia imparts sufficient alcohol, 
which ranges from 20 to 23 per cent, in fine sherries, and only 
reaches about 12 in clarets and champagnes. Fine pure sherry 
is of a rich brown colour, but in order to flatter the conventional 
tastes of some English, " pale old sherry " must be had, and 
colour is chemically discharged at the expense of delicate aroma. 
Another absurd deference to British prejudice, is the sending 
sherries to the East Indies, because such a trip is found some- 
times to benefit the wines of Madeira. This is not only expensive 
but positively injurious to the juice of Xerez, as the wine returns 
diminished in quantity, turbid, sharp, and deteriorated in flavour, 
while from the constant fermentation it becomes thinner in body 
and more spirituous. The real secret of procuring good sherry is 
to pay the best price for it at the best house, and then to keep the 
purchase for many years in a good cellar before it is drunk. 

To return to the Capataz. This head master passes this life 
of probation in tasting. He goes the regular round of his butts, 
ascertaining the qualities, merits, and demerits of each pupil, 
which he notes by certain marks or hieroglyphics. He corrects 
faults as he goes along, making a memorandum also of the date 
and remedy applied, and thus at his next visit he is enabled to 
report good progress, or lament the contrary. The new wines, 
after the fermentation is past, are commonly enriched with an 
arrope, or sort of syrup, which is found very much to encourage 



them. There are extensive manufactories of this cordial at San 
Lucar, and wherever the arenas., or sandy soil, prevails. The 
must, or new grape juice, before fermentation has commenced, 
is boiled slowly down to the fifrh of its bulk. It must simmer, 
and requires great care in the skimming and not being burnt. 
Of this, when dissolved, the vi7io de color, the madre v'mo, or 
mother wine, is made, by which the younger ones are nourished 
as by mother's milk. Wlien old, this balsamic ingredient becomes 
strong, perfumed as an essence, and very precious, and is worth 
from three to five hundred guineas a butt ; indeed it scarcely ever 
will be sold at all. All the principal bodegas have certain huge 
and time-honoured casks which contain this divine ichor, which 
inspires ordinary wines with generous and heroic virtues ; hence 
possibly their dedication of their tuns not to saints and saintesses, 
but to "NVellinsftons and Nelsons. It is from these reservoirs 
that distinguished visitors are allowed just a sip. Such a com- 
pliment was paid to Ferdinand VII. by Pedro Domecq, and the 
cask to this day bears the royal name of its assayer. Whatever 
quantity is taken out of one of these for the benefit of younger 
wines, is replaced by a similar quantity drawn from the next 
oldest cask in the cellar. 

After a year or two trial of the new wines, it is ascertained how 
they will eventually turn out ; if they go wrong, they are expelled 
from the seminary, and shipped off to the leathern-tongued 
consumers of Hamburgh or Quebec, at about 15/. per butt. All 
the various forms, stages, and steps of education are readily ex- 
plained in the great establishments, among which the first are those 
of Domecq and John David Gordon, and nothing can exceed the 
cordial hospitality of these princely merchants ; whoever comes 
provided with a letter of introduction is carried off bodily, bags, 
baggage, and all, to their houses, which, considering the iniquity 
of Xerezan inns, is a satisfactory move. Then and there the 
guest is initiated into the secrets of trade, and is handed over to 
the Capataz, who delivers an explanatory lecture on vinologj', 
which is illustrated, like those of Faraday, by experiments : 
tasting sherry at Xerez has, as Senor Clemente would say, very 
little in common with the commonplace customs of the London 
Docks. Here the swarthy professor, dressed somewhat like 
Figaro in the Barber of Seville, is followed by sundry jacketed 

IGO TASTING WINE. [chap. xiv. 

and sandalled Ganymedes, who bear glasses on waiters ; the lec- 
turer is armed with a long stick, to the end of which is tied a bit 
of hollow cane, which he dips into each butt ; the subject is 
begun at the beginning, and each step in advance is explained to 
the listening party with the gravity of a judicious foreman of a 
jury : the sample is handed round and tasted by all, who, if they 
are wise, will follow the example of their leader (on whom wine 
has no more effect than on a glass), by never swallowing the sips, 
but only permitting the tongue to agitate it in the mouth, until 
the exact flavour is mastered ; every cask is tried, from the young 
wine to the middle-aged, from the mature to the golden ancient. 
Those who are not stupefied by the fumes, cannot fail to come 
out vastly edified. The student should liold hard during the 
first trials, for the best wine is reserved until the last. He 
ascends, if he does not tumble off, a vinous ladder of excellence. 
It would be better to reverse the order of the course, and com- 
mence with the finest sorts while the palate is fresh and the judg- 
ment unclouded. The tliirster after knowledge must not drink 
too deeply now, but remember the second ordeal to which he 
will afterwards be exposed at the hospitable table of the pro- 
prietor, whose joy and pride is to produce fine wine and plenty 
of it, when his friends meet around his mahogany. 

Wliat a grateful offering is then made to the jovial god, by 
whom the merchant lives, and by whom the deity is now set from 
his glassy prison free ! What a drawing of popping corks, half 
consumed by time ! — what a brushing away of venerable cobwebs 
from flasks binned apart while George the Third was king ! The 
delight of the worthy Amphitryon on producing a fresh bottle, 
exceeds that of a prolific mother when she blesses her husband 
with a new baby. He liandles tiie darling decanter, as if he dearly 
loved the contents, which indeed are of his own making ; how 
the clean glasses are held up to the light to see the bright trans- 
parent liquid sparkle and phosphore.sce within ; how the intelligent 
nose is passed slowly over the mantling surface, redolent with 
fragrancy ; how the climax of rapture is reached when the god- 
like nectar is raised to the blushing lips ! 

The wine suffices in itself for sensual gratification and for in- 
tellectual conversation i all the guests have an opinion ; what 
gentleman, indeed, cannot judge on a horse or a bottle ? When 


differences arise, as they will in matters of taste, and where 
bottles circulate freely, the master-host decides — 

" Tells all the names, lays down the law, 
Que 5a est bon ; ah, goutez ga." 

There is to him a combination of pleasure and profit in these 
genial banquets, these noctes co^naeque Deum. Many a good 
connection is thus formed, when an English gentleman, who now, 
perhaps for the first time, tastes pure and genuine sherry. A 
good dinner naturally promotes good humour with mankind in 
general, and with the donor in particular. A given quantity of 
the present god opens both heart and purse-strings, until the 
tongue on which the magic flavour lingers, murmurs gratefully 
out, " Send me a butt of amontillado pasado, and another of 
seco reanejo, and draw for the cash at sight." 

An important point will now arise, what is the price ? That 
ever is the question and the rub. Pure genuine sherry, from 
ten to twelve years old, is worth from 50 to 80 guineas per butt, 
in the bodega, and when freight, insurance, duty, and charges 
are added, will stand the importer from 100 to 130 guineas in 
his cellar. A butt will run from 108 to 112 gallons, and the 
duty is 5*. 6c?. per gallon. Such a butt will bottle about 52 
dozen. The reader will now appreciate the bargains of those 
" pale " and " golden sherries " advertised in the English news- 
papers at 36^. the dozen, bottles included. They are maris 
expers, although much indebted to French brandy, Sicilian 
Marsala, Cape wine, Devonshire cider, and Thames water. 

The growth of wine amounts to some 400,000 or 500,000 
arrobas annually. The arroba is a Moorish name, and a dry 
measure, altliough used for liquids ; it contains a quarter of a 
hundredweight ; 30 arrobas go to a bota, or butt, of which from 
8000 to 10,000 of really fine are annually exported : but the 
quantities of so-called sherries, "neat as imported," in the manu- 
facture of which San Lucar is fully occupied, is prodigious, and 
is Increasing every year. To give an idea of the extent of the 
growing traffic, in 1842 25,096 butts were exported from these 
districts, and 29,313 in 1843 ; while in 1845 there were exported 
18,135 butts from Xerez alone, and 14,037 from the Puerto, 
making the enormous aggregate of 32,172 butts. Now as the 



vineyards remain precisely the same, probabJy some portion of 
these additional barrels may not be quite the genuine produce of the 
Xerez grape : in truth, the ruin of sherry wines lias commenced, 
from the numbers of second-rate houses tliat have sprung up, 
which look to quantity, not quality. Many thousand butts of bad 
iSTiebla wine are thus palmed off on the enlightened British public 
after being well brandied and doctored ; thus a conventional 
notion of sherry is formed, to the ruin of the real tiling ; for even 
respectable houses are forced to fabricate their wines so as to suit 
the depraved taste of their consumers, as is done with pure clarets 
at Bordeaux, wliich are charged with Hermitages and Benicarlo. 
Thus delicate idiosyncratic flavour is lost, while headache and 
dyspepsia are imported ; but there is a fasliion in wines as in 
physicians. Formerly Madeira was the vinous panacea, until the 
increased demand induced disreputable traders to deteriorate the 
article, which in the reaction became dishonoured. Then sherry 
was resorted to as a more honest and wholesome beverage. Now 
its period of decline is hastening from the same causes, and the 
average produce is becoming inferior, to end in disrepute, and 
possibly in a return to the wines of Madeira, whose makers have 
learnt a lesson in the stern school of adversity. 

Be that as it may, the people at large of Spain are scarcely 
acquainted with the taste of sherry wine, beyond the immediate 
vicinity in which it is made ; and more of it is swallowed at 
Gibraltar at the messes, than in either Madrid, Toledo, or Sala- 
manca. Sherry is a foreign wine, and made and drunk by 
foreigners ; nor do the generality of Spaniards like its strong fla- 
vour, and still less its high price, although some now affect its use, 
because, from its great vogue in England, it argues civilization to 
adopt it. This use obtains only in the capital and richer seaports; 
thus at inland Granada, not 150 miles from Xerez, sherry would 
hardly be to be had, were it not for the demand created by our 
travelling countrymen, and even then it is sold per bottle, and as 
a liqueur. At Seville, which is quite close to Xerez, in the best 
houses, one glass only is handed round, just as only one glass of 
Greek wine was in the house of the father of even Lucullus 
among the ancient Romans, or as among the modern ones is still 
done with Malaga or Vino de Cypro ; this single glass is drunk 
as a chasse, and being considered to aid digestion, is called the 


golpe medico, the coup cle medeciii ; it is equivalent, in that hot 
country, to the thimbleful of Curagoa or Cognac, by which coffee 
is wound up in colder England and France. 

In Andalucia it was no less easy for the Moor to encourage 
the use of water as a beverage, than to prohibit that of wine, 
which, if endued with strength, which sherry is, must destroy 
health when taken largely and habitually, as is occasionally 
found out at Gibraltar, Hence the natives of Xerez themselves 
infinitely prefer a light wine called Manzanilla, which is made 
near San Lucar, and is at once much weaker and cheaper than 
sherry. The grape from whence it is produced grows on a poor 
and sandy soil. The vintage is very early, as the fruit is gathered 
before it is quite ripe. The wine is of a delicate pale straw colour, 
and is extremely wholesome ; it strengthens the stomach, without 
heating or inebriating, like sherry. All classes are passionately 
fond of it, since the want of alcohol enables them to drink more of 
it than of stronger beverages, while the dry quality acts as a tonic 
during the relaxing heats. It may be compared to the ancient 
Lesbian, which Horace quaffed so plentifully in the cool shade, 
and then described as never doing harm. The men employed 
in the sherry wine vaults, and who have therefore that drink at 
their command, seldom touch it, but invariably, when their work 
is done, go to the neighbouring shop to refresh themselves with 
a glass of " innocent " Manzanilla. Among their betters, clubs 
are formed solely to drink it, and with iced water and a cigar it 
transports the consumer into a Moslem's dream of paradise. It 
tastes better from the cask than out of the bottle, and improves 
as the cask gets low. 

The origin of the name has been disputed ; some who prefer 
sound to sense derive it from Manzana, an apple, which had it 
been cider might have passed ; others connect it witli the distant 
town of Mansanilla on the opposite side of the river, where it is 
neither made nor drunk. The real etymology is to be found in 
its striking resemblance to the bitter flavour of the flowers of 
camomile {manzanilla), which are used by our doctors to make 
a medicinal tea, and by those of Spain for fomentations. This 
flavour in the wine is so marked as to be at first ouite disajrree- 
able to strangers. If its eulogistic consumers are to be believed, 
the wine surpasses the tea in hygseian qualities : none, say they. 

164 THE ALPISTERA. [chap, xiv 

who drink it are ever troubled with gravel, stone, or gout. 
Certainly, it is eminently free from acidity. The very best 
Manzanilla is to be liad in London of Messrs. Gorman, No. 16, 
Mark Lane. Since " Drink it, ye dyspeptics" was enjoined last 
year in the ' Handbook,' the importation of this wine to Eng- 
land, which previously did not exceed ten butts, has in twelve 
short months overpassed two hundred ; a compliment delicate as 
it is practical, which is acknowledged by the author— a drinker 
thereof — with most profound gratitude. 

By the way, the real thing to eat with Manzanilla is the 
alpistera. Make it thus : — To one pound of fine flour (mind 
that it is dry) add half a pound of double-refined, well-sifted, 
pounded white sugar, the yolks and whites of four very fresh eggs, 
well beaten together ; work the mixture up into a paste ; roll it 
out very thin ; divide it into squares about half the size of this 
page ; cut it into strips, so that the paste should look like a hand 
with fingers ; then dislocate the strips, and dip them in hot melted 
fine lard, until of a delicate pale brown ; the more the strips are 
curled up and twisted the better ; the alpistera should look like 
bunches of ribbons ; powder them over with fine white sugar. 
They are then as pretty as nice. It is not easy to make them 
well ; but the gods grant no excellence to mortals without much 
labour and thought. So Venus the goddess of grace was allied 
to hard-working Vulcan, who toiled and pondered at his fire, as 
every cook who has an aspiring soul has ever done. 



Spanish Inns : Why so Indifferent — The Fonda — Modern Improvements — 
The Posada — Spanish Innkeepers — The Venta : Arrival in it — Arrange- 
ment — Garlic — Dinner — Evening — Night— Bill — Identity Avith the Inns 
of the Ancients. 

Having thus, and we hope satisfactorily, discussed the eatables 
and drinkables of Spain, attention must naturally be next directed 
to those houses on the roads and in the towns, where these com- 
forts to the hungry and weary public are to be had, or are not to 
be had, as sometimes will happen in this land of " the unex- 
pected ;" the Peninsular inns, with few exceptions, have long 
been divided into the bad, the worse, and the worst ; and as the 
latter are still the most numerous and national, as well as the 
worst, they will be gone into the last. In few countries will the 
rambler agree oftener with dear Dr. Johnson's speech to his 
squire Boswell, " Sir, there is nothing which has been contrived 
by man, by which so much happiness is produced, as by a good 
tavern." Spain offers many negative arguments of the truth 
of our great moralist and eater's reflection ; the inns in general 
are fuller of entertainment for the mind than the body, and even 
when the newest, and the best in the country, are indifferent if 
compared to those which Englishmen are accustomed to at home, 
and have created on those high roads of tlie Continent, which 
they most frequent. Here few gentlemen will say with Falstaff, 
" Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn?" Badness of roads 
and discomforts of ventas cannot well escape the notice of those 
who travel on horseback and slowly, since they must dwell on 
and in them ; whereas a rail whisks the passenger past such 
nuisances, with comet-like rapidity, and all things that are soon 
out of sight are quicker out of mind ; nevertheless, let no as- 
piring writer be deterred from quitting the highways for the 
byeways of the Peninsula. "There is, Sir," as Johnson again 


said to Boswell, " a good deal of Spain that has not been peram- 
bulated. I would have you go thitlier ; a man of inferior talents to 
yours, may furnish us with useful observations on that country." 
Why the public accommodations should be second-rate is soon 
explanifcd. Nature and the natives have long combined to 
isolate still more their Peninsula, which already is moated round 
by the unsocial sea, and is barricadoed by almost impassable 
mountains. The Inquisition all bat reduced Spanish man to the 
condition of a monk in a wall-enclosed convent, by standing 
sentinel, and keeping watch and ward against the foreigner and 
his perilous novelties ;* Spain thus unvisited and unvisiting, 
became arranged for Spaniards only, and has scarcely required 
couveuiences which are more suited to the curious wants of other 
Europeans and strangers who here are neither liked, wished for, 
nor even thought of, by natives who seldom travel except on 
compulsion and never for amusement ; why indeed should they? 
since Spain is paradise, and each man's own parish in his eyes 
is the central spot of its glory, Wlien the noble and rich visited 
the provinces, they were lodged in their own or in their friends' 
houses, just as the clergy and monks were received into convents. 
The great bulk of the Peninsular family, not being overburdened 
with cash or fastidiousness, have long been and are inured 
to infinite inconveniences and negations ; they live at home in 
an abundance of privations, and expect when abroad to be worse 
off; and they well know that comfort never lodges at a Spanish inn;- 
as in the East, tliey cannot conceive that any travelling should be 
unattended by hardships, which they endure with Oriental resig- 
nation, as cosas de Espana, or things of Spain which have always 
been so, and for wliich there is no remedy but patient resignation ; 

* Tlie very word Novelty has become in common parlance synonymous 
with danj;er, ciiange, by the fear oi which all Spaniards are perplexed ; as in 
religion it is a heresy. Bitter experience has tautiht all classes that every 
change, every promise of a new era of blessing and prosperity has ended in 
a failure, and that matters have got worse : hence they not only bear the 
evils to which they are accustomed, rather than try a speculative ameliora- 
tion, but actually prefer a bad state of ihings, of which they know the worst, 
to the possibility uf an untried good. Mas vale el 7nal conocido, que el hieii 
por coiwccr. " How is my lady the wife of your grace .■''" says a Spanish gentle- 
man to his friend. " Cumo estd mi Senora la Esposa de Usted i" " She goes 
on without Novelty"—" Siyiie sin Novedad," is the reply, if the fair one be 
much the same. ''Vuija Usted con JHos, y que no hiija Novedad T "Go 
with God, your grace! and may nothing new happen," says another, on 
starling his friend off on a journey. 


the bliss of ignorance, and the not knowing of anything better, 
is everywhere the grand secret of absence of discontent ; while 
to those whose every-day life is a feast, every thing that does 
not come up to their conventional ideas becomes a failure but 
to those whose daily bread is dry and scanty, whose drink is water, 
every thing beyond prison-fare appears to be luxury. 

In Spain there has been little demand for those accommodations 
which have been introduced on the continent by our nomade 
countrymen, who carry their tea, towels, carpets, comforts and 
civilization with them ; to travel at all for mere pleasure is 
quite a modern invention, and being an expensive affair, is the 
most indulged in by the English, because they can best afford it, 
but as Spain lies out of their hackneyed routes, the inns still 
retain much the same state of primitive dirt and discomfort, 
which most of those on the continent presented, until repolished 
by our hints and guineas. 

In the Peninsula, where intellect does not post in a Britannic 
britzcka and four, the inns, and especially those of the country 
and inferior order, continue much as they were in the time of 
the Romans, and probably long before them ; nay those in the 
very vicinity of Madrid, " the only court on earth," are as 
classically wretched, as the hostelry at Aricia, near the Eternal 
City, was in the days of Horace. The Spanish inns, indeed, 
on the bye-roads and remoter districts, are such as render it 
almost unadvisable for any English lady to venture to face them, 
unless predetermined to go through roughing-it, in a way of 
which none who have only travelleil in England can form the 
remotest idea : at the same time they may be and have been 
endured by even the sick and delicate. To youth, and to all 
men in enjoyment of good health, temper, patience, and the 
blessing of foresight, neither a dinner nor a bed will ever be 
wanting, to both of which hunger and fatigue will give a zest 
beyond the reach of art ; and fortunately for travellers, all the 
Continent over, and particularly in Spain, bread and salt, as in 
the days of Horace, will be found to appease the wayfarer's bark- 
ing stomach, nor will he who after that sleeps soundly be bitten 
by fleas, " quien duerme bien, no le picatt las ptdgas." The plea- 
sures of travelling in this wild land are cheaply purchased by these 
trifling inconveniences, which may always be much lessened by 

ST 2 

168 THE FONDA. [chap, xv 

provision in brain and basket ; the expeditions teem with inci- 
dent, adventure, and novelty ; every day and evening present a 
comedy of real life, and offer means of obtaining insight int^/ 
human nature, and form in after-life a perpetual fund of inter- 
esting recollections : all that was ciiarming will be then remem- 
bered, and the disagreeable, if not forgotten, will be disarmed 
of its sting, nay, even as having been in a battle, will become 
a pleasant thing to recollect and to talk, may be tvvaddle, about. 
Let not the traveller expect to find too much ; if he reckons 
on finding nothing he will seldom be disappointed ; so let him 
not look for five feet in a cat, " no buxces cinco pies al gato." 
Spain, as the East, is not to be enjoyed by the over-fastidious in 
the fleshly comforts : there, those who over analyze, who peep 
too much behind the culinary or domestic curtains, must not 
expect to pass a tranquil existence. 

First and foremost among these refuges for the destitute comes 
the fonda, the hotel. This, as the name implies, is a foreign 
thing, and was imported from Venice, wliich in its time was the 
Paris of Europe, the leader of sensual civilization, and the sink 
of every lie and iniquity. Its fondacco, in the same manner, 
served as a model for the Turkish fondack. The fonda is only 
to be found in the largest towns and principal seaports, where 
the presence of foreigners creates a demand and supports the 
establishment. To it frequently is attached a cafe, or " hotil- 
lerid" a bottlery and a place for the sale of liqueurs, with a 
" neveria" a snowery where ices and cakes are supplied. Men 
only, not horses, are taken in at a, fonda; but there is generally 
a keeper of a stable or of a minor inn in the vicinity, to which 
the traveller's animals are consigned. The fonda is tolerably 
furnished in reference to the common articles with which the 
sober unindulgent natives are contented : the traveller in his 
comparisons must never forget that Spain is not England, which 
too few ever can gei out of their heads. Spain is Spain, a truism 
which cannot be too often repeated ; and in its being Spain con- 
sists its originality, its raciness, its novelty, its idiosyncrasy, its 
best charm and interest, although the natives do not know it, 
and are every day, by a foolish aping of European civilization, 
paring away attractions, and getting commonplace, unlike them- 
selves, and still more unlike their Gotho-Moro and most pic- 


turesque fathers and mothers. Monks, as we said in our preface, 
are gone, mantillas are going-, the shadow of cotton versus corn 
has already darkened the sunny city of Figaro, and the end 
of all Spanish things is coming. Ay I de mi Espajia ! 

Thus in Spain, and especially in the hotter provinces, it is 
heat and not cold which is the enemy : what we call furnij,tire — 
carpets, rugs, curtains, and so forth — would be a positive nuisance, 
would keep out the cool, and harbour plagues of vermin beyond 
endurance. The walls of the apartments are frequently, though 
simply, whitewashed : the uneven brick floors are covered in 
winter with a matting made of the " espai-to" rush, and called 
an ^' estera," as v.'as done in our king's palaces in the days of 
Elizabeth : a low iron or wooden truckle bedstead, with coarse 
but clean sheets and clothes, a few hard chairs, perhaps a stiff- 
backed, most uncomfortable sofa, and a rickety table or so, com- 
plete the scanty inventory. The charges are moderate ; about 
two dollars, or 8*. 6d., per head a-day, includes lodging, break- 
fast, dinner, and supper. Servants, if Spanish, are usually 
charged the half; English servants, whom no wise person would 
take on the Continent, are nowhere more useless, or greater 
incumbrances, tlian in this hungry, tliirsty, tealess, beerless, 
beefless land : tliey give more trouble, require more food and 
attention, and are ten times more discontented tlian their masters, 
who have poetry in tlieir souls; an aesthetic love of travel, for 
its own sake, more tiian counterbalances with them the want of 
material gross comforts, about which their pudding headed four- 
full-meals- a-day attendants are only thinking. Charges are 
higher at INIadrid, and Barcelona, a great commercial city, 
where the hotels are appointed more European-like, in accom- 
modation and prices. Those who remain any time in a large 
town bargain with the innkeeper, or go into a boarding-house, 
" casa de pupilos," or " de huespedes," where they have the 
best opportunity of learning the Spanish language, and of 
obtaining an idea of national manners and habits. This system 
is very common. The houses may be known externally by a white 
paper ticket attaclied to the extremity of one of the windows or 
balconies. This position must be noted ; for if the paper be placed 
in tlie middle of the balcony, the signal means only that lodgings 
are here to be let. Their charges are very reasonable. 

170 CHANGF:S IN SPANISH INNS. [chap, xv 

Since the death of Ferdinand VII. marvellous improvements 
have taken place in some fondas. In the changes and chances 
of the multitudinous revolutions, all parties ruled in their rota- 
tion, and then either killed or banished tlieir opponents. Thus 
royalists, liberals, patriots, moderates, &c., each in their turn, 
have been expatriated ; and as the wheel of fortune and politics 
went round, many have returned to tlieir beloved Spain from 
bitter exile in France and England. These tiavellers, in many 
cases, were sent abroad for the public good, since they were thus 
enabled to discover that some things were better managed on the 
other side of the water and Pyrenees. Then and there suspicion 
crossed their minds, although they seldom will admit it to a 
foreigner, that Spain Mas not altogether the richest, wisest, 
strongest, and first of nations, but that she miglit take a hint or 
two in a few trifles, among which perhaps the accommodations 
for man and beast might be included. The ingress, again, of 
foreigners by the facilities offered to travellers by the increased 
novelties of steamers, mails, and diligences necessarily called for 
more waiters and inns. Every day, therefore, the fermentation 
occasioned by the foreign leaven is going on ; and if the national 
musto, or grape-juice, be not over-drugged with French brandy, 
sometliing decent in smell and taste may yet be produced. 

In the seaports and large towns on tlie Madrid roads the twi- 
light of cafe and cuisine civilization is breaking from La belle 
France. Monastic darkness is dispelled, and the age of convents 
is giving way to that of kitchens, while the large spaces and 
ample acconnnodations of the suppressed monasteries suggest an 
easy transition into " first-rate establishments," in wdiich the 
occupants will probably pay more and pray less. News, indeed, 
have just arrived from Malaga, that certain ultra-civilized hotels 
are actually rising, to be defrayed by companies and engineered 
b)'' English, who seem to be as essential in regulating these 
novelties on the Continent as in the matters of lailroads and 
steamboats. Rooms are to be papered, brick floors to be ex- 
changed for boards, carpets to be laid down, fireplaces to be 
made, and bells are to be hung, incredible as it may appear to 
all who remember Spain as it was. They will ring the knell of 
nationality ; and we shall be much mistaken if the grim old Cid, 
when the first one is pulled at Burffos. does not answer it himself 


by knocking the innovator down. Naj-, more, for wonders 
never cease ; vague rumours are abroad that secret and solitary 
closets are contemplated, in which, by some magical mechanism, 
sudden waters are to gush forth ; but this report, like others 
via Madrid and Paris telegraph, requires confirmation. As- 
suredly, the spirit of tlie Holy Inquisition, which still hovers 
over orthodox Spain, will long ward off these English heresies, 
which are rejected as too bad even by free-thinking France. 

The genuine Spanish town inn is called the posada, as being 
meant to mean, a house of repose after the pains of travel. 
Strictly speaking, the keeper is only bound to provide lodging, 
salt, and the power of cooking whatever the traveller brings 
with him or can procure out of doors ; and in this it diifers from 
the fonda, in which meats and drinks are furnished. The posada 
ought only to be compared to its type, the kiian of the East, and 
never to the inn of Europe. If foreigners, and especially 
Englishmen, would bear this in mind, they would save them- 
selves a great deal of time, trouble, and disappointment, and not 
expose themselves by their loss of temper on the spot, or iu tlieir 
note-books. No Spaniard is ever put out at meeting with 
neither attention nor accommodation, although he maddesis in a 
moment on other occasions at the slightest personal affront, for 
his blood boils without fire. He takes these things coolly, which 
colder-blooded foreiiiuers seldom do. The native, like the 
Oriental, does not expect to find anything, and accordingly is 
never surjirised at only getting what he brings witli him. His 
surprise is reserved for those rare occasions when he finds any- 
thing actually ready, which he considers to be a godsend. As 
most travellers carry tiieir provisions with them, the \mcertainty 
of demand would prevent mine host from filling his larder with 
perishable commodities ; and formerly, owing to absurd local 
privileges, he very often was not permitted to sell objects of 
consumption to travellers, because the lords or ^proprietors of the 
town or village had set up other shops, little monopolies of their 
own. These inconveniences sound Morse on paper tlian in prac- 
tice ; for whenever laws are decidedly opposed to common sense 
and the public benefit, they are neutralized in practice ; the 
means to elude tliem are soon discovered, and the innkeeper, if 
he has not the things by him himself, knows where to get them. 

172 THE POSADA. [chap. xv. 

On starting next day a sum is charged for lodging, service, and 
dressing the food : this is called el ruido de casa, an indemnifica- 
tion to mine host for the noise, the disturbance, that the traveller 
is supposed to have created, which is the old Italian incommodo 
de la casa, the routing and inconveniencing of the house ; and 
no v/ord can be better chosen to express the varied and never- 
ceasing din of mules, muleteers, songs, dancing, and laughing, 
the dust, the row, which Spaniards, men as well as beasts, kick 
up. The English traveller, who will have to pay the most in 
purse and sleep for his noise, will often be tiie only quiet person 
in the house, and might claim indemnification for the injur}' 
done to his acoustic organs, on the principle of the Turkish 
soldier who fjrces his entertainer to pay him teeth-money, to 
compensate for the damage done to his molars and incisors from 
masticatino- indifferent rations. 

Akin to the posada is the ^^ parador," a word probably derived 
from Waradah, Arabice, " a halting-place ;" it is a huge caravan- 
sary for the reception of waggons, carts, and beasts of burden ; 
these large establishments are often placed outside the town to 
avoid the heavy duties and vexatious examinations at the gates, 
where dues on all articles of consumption are levied both for 
municipal and government purposes. They are the old sisa, a 
word derived from the Hebrew Sisah, to take a sixth part, and 
are now called el derecho de puertas, the gate-due ; and have 
always been as unpopular as the similar octroi of France ; and 
as they are generally farmed out, they are exacted from the 
peasantry with great severity and incivility. There is perhaps 
no single grievance among the many, in the mistaken system of 
Spanish political and fiscal economy, which tends to create and 
keep alive, by its daily retail worry and often wholesale injustice, 
so great a feeling of discontent and ill-will towards authority as 
this does ; it obstructs both commerce and travellers. The oflficers 
are, however, seldom either strict or uncivil to the higher classes, 
and if courteously addressed by the stranger, and told that he is 
an English gentleman, the official Cerheri open the gates and 
let him pass unmolested, and still more if quieted by the Vir- 
gilian sop of a bribe. The laws in Spain are indeed strict on 
paper, but those who administer them, whenever it suits their 
private interest, that is ninety-nine times out of a hundred, evads 


and defeat them ; they obey the letter, but do not perform the 
spirit, " 5e obedece, pero no se cumple ;" indeed, the lower classes 
of officials in particular are so inadequately paid that they are 
compelled to eke out a livelihood by taking bribes and little 
presents, which, as Backshish in the East, may always be offered, 
and will always be accepted, as a matter of compliment. The 
idea of a bribe must be concealed ; it shocks their dignity, their 
sense of honour, their '•^ pundonor -r if, however, the money be 
given to the head person as something for his people to drink, 
the delicate attention is sacked by the chief, properly appreciated, 
and works its due effect. 

Anotlier term, almost equivalent to the " posada," is the 
" meson" which is rather applicable to the inns of the rural 
and smaller towns, to the " hoslerias," than to those of the 
greater. The " mesonero," like the Spanish " vc7itera" has a 
bad reputation. It is always as well to stipulate something 
about prices beforehand. Tlie pi-overb says, '' Por un ladron, 
pierden ciento en el meson" — " Ventera hermosa, mal para la 
bolsa." " For every one who is robbed on the road, a hundred 
are in the inn." — " The fairer tlie hostess, tlie fouler the reckon- 
ing." It is among these innkeepers that the real and worst rob- 
bers of Spain are to be met with, since these classes of worthies 
are everywhere only thinking how much they can with decency 
overcharge in their bills. This is but fair, for nobody would be 
an innkeeper if it were not for the profit. The trade of inn- 
keeping is among those which are considered derogatory in 
Spain, where so many Hindoo notions of caste, self-respect, 
purity of blood, etc., exist. The harbouring strangers for gain 
is opposed to every ancient and Oriental law of sacred hospitality. 
Now no Spaniard, if he can lielp it, likes to degrade himself; 
this accounts for tlie number of fondas in towns being kept by 
Frenchmen, Italians, Catalans, Biscayans, wlio are all foreigners 
in the eye of the Castilian, and disliked and held cheap ; accord- 
ingly the inn-keeper in Don Quixote protests that he is a 
Christian, although a ventero, nay, a genuine old one — Cristiano 
viejo rancio ; an old Ciiristian being the common term used to 
distinguish the genuine stock from those renegade Jews and 
Moors who, rather than leave Spain, became j^seudo- Christians 
(ind publicans. 

1'4 THE VENT A. [chap, xv 

Tlie country Parador, Mexoti, Posada, and Venfa, call it 
how you will, is the Roman stabuliim, whose original intention 
was tlie housing of cattle, while the accommodation of travellers 
was secondary, and so it is in Spain to this day. The accommo- 
dation for the beast is excellent ; cool roomy stables, ample 
mangers, a never-failing supply of fodder and water, every 
comfort and luxury which the animal is capable of enjoying, is 
ready on the s))ot ; as regards man, it is just the reverse ; he 
must forage abroad for anything he may want. Only a small 
part of the barn is allotted him, and then he is lodged among 
the brutes below, or among the trusses and sacks of their food 
in the lofts above. He finds, in spite of all this, tliat if he asks 
the owner what he has got, he will be told that " there is every- 
thing," /lat/ de todo, just as the rogue of a veniero informed 
Sancho Panza, that his empty larder contained all tlie birds of 
the air, all the beasts of the earth, all the fishes of the sea, — a 
Spanish magnificence of promise, which, when reduced to plain 
Englisli, too often means, as in that case, there is everything 
that you have brought with you. This especially occurs in the 
ventas of the out-of-the-way and i-arely-visited districts, which, 
however empty their larders, are full of the spirit of Don Quixote 
to the brim ; and tlie everyday occurrences in them are so 
strange, and one's life is so dramatic, that there is much diffi- 
culty in " realising," as the Americans say ; all is so like being in 
a dream or at a plaj', that one scarcely can believe it to be 
actually taking place, and true. The man of tlie note-book and 
the artist almost forget that there is notliing to eat ; meanwhile 
all this food for the mind and portfolio, all this local colour and 
oddness, is lost upon your Spanish companion, if he be one of 
the better classes : he is ashamed, where you are enchanted ; he 
blushes at the sad want of civilization, clean table-cloth, and beef- 
steaks, and perhaps he is right : at all events, while you are raving 
about the Goths, Moors, and tliis lifting up the curtain of two 
thousand years ago, he is thinking of Mivart's ; and when you 
quote Martial, he and the veiitero set you down as talking non- 
sense, and stark staring mad ; nay, a Spanish gentleman is often 
affronted, and suspects, from the impossibility to him, that such 
things can be objects of real admiration, that you are laugh- 
i'lg at him in your sleeve, and considering his country as 

CHAP. xv.J THE VENTA. 175 

Roman, African, or in a word, as un-European, which is wiiat 
he particularly dislikes and resents. 

These veutas have from time immemorial been the subject of 
jests and pleasantries to Spanish and foreign wits. Quevedo and 
Cervantes indulge in endless diatribes against the roguery of the 
masters, and tlie misery of the accommodations, while Gongora 
compares them to Noah's ark ; and in truth they do contain a 
variety of animals, from the big to tlie small, and more than a 
pair, of more than one kind of the latter. The word veyda is 
derived from the Latin vendendo, on the lucus a non lucendo 
principle of etymology, because provisions are not sold in it to 
travellers: old Covarrubias explains this mode of dealing as 
consisting " especially in selling a cat for a hare," which indeed 
vvas and is so usual a venta practice, tliat venderlo a uno gato 
por liebre has become in common Spanish parlance to be equiva- 
lent to doing or taking one in. The natives do not dislike the 
feline tribe when well stewed : no cat was safe in the Alhambra, 
the galley-slaves bagged her in a second. This venta trait of 
Iberian gastronomy did not escape the compiler of Gil Bias. 

Be that as it may, a venta, strictly speaking, is an isolated 
country inn, or house of reception on the road, and, if it be not 
one of physical entertainment, it is at least one of moral, and 
accordingly figures in prominent characters in all the personal 
narratives and travels in Spain ; it sharpens the wit of both 
hungry cooks and lively authors, and ingenii largitor venter is 
as old as Juvenal. Many of these ventas have been built on a 
large scale by the noblemen or convent brethren to whom the 
village or adjoining territory belonged, and some have at a 
distance quite the air of a gentleman's mansion. Their walls, 
towers, and often elegant elevations glitter in the sun, gay and 
promising, wliile all within is dark, dirty, and dilapidated, and 
no better than a wdiitened sepulchre. The ground floor is a sort 
of common room for men and beasts ; the portion appropriated 
to the stables is often arched over, and is very imperfectly lighted 
to keep it cool, so that even by day the eye has some difficulty 
at first in making out the details. The ranges of mangers are 
fixed round the walls, and the harness of the different animals 
suspended on the pillars which support the arches ; a wide door, 
always open to tfie road, leads into this great stable ; a small 

17G RECEPTIUxN AT THP: VENTA. [chap. xv. 

space in the interior is generally left unincumbered, into which the 
traveller enters on foot or on horseback ; no one greets him ; no 
obsequious landlord, bustling waiter, or simpering chambermaid 
takes any notice of his arrival : the ventero sits in the sun 
smoking, while his wife continues her uninterrupted chasse for 
" small deer " in the thick covers of her daughters' hair ; nor 
does the guest pay much attention to them ; he proceeds to a 
gibbous water-jar, which is always set up in a visible place, dips 
in with the ladle, or takes from the shelf in the wall an alcarraza 
of cold water ; refreshes his baked clay, refills it, and replaces it 
in its hole on the taller, which resembles the decanter stands in 
a butler's pantry : he then proceeds, unaided by ostler or boots, 
to select a stall for his beast, — unsaddles and unloads, and in due 
time applies to the ventero for fodder ; the difference of whose 
cool reception contrasts with the eager welcome which awaits the 
traveller at bedtime : his arrival is a godsend to the creeping tribe, 
who, like the ventero, have no regular larder ; it is not upstairs 
that he eats, but where he is eaten like Polonius ; the walls are 
frequently stained with the marks of nocturnal combats, of those 
internecine, truly Spanish guerrillas, which are waged without 
an Elliot treaty, against enemies who, if not exterminated, 
murder sleep. Were these fleas and French ladybirds unani- 
mous, they would eat up a Goliath ; but fortunately, like other 
Spaniards, they never act together, and are consequently con- 
quered and slaughtered in detail ; hence the proverbial expression 
for great mortality among men, mueren como chinches. 

Having first provided for the wants and comforts of his beast, 
for " the master's eye fattens the horse," the traveller begins to 
think of himself. One, and the greater side of the building, is 
destined to the cattle, tlie other to their owners. Immediately 
opposite the public entrance is the staircase that leads to the 
upper part of the building, which is dedicated to the lodgment 
of fodder, fowls, vermin, and the better class of travellers. The 
arrangement of the larger class of posadas and ventas is laid out 
on the plan of a convent, and is well calculated to lodge the 
greatest number of inmates in the smallest space. The ingress 
and egress are facilitated by a long "orridor, into which the 
doors of the separate rooms open; these are called '■^ cuartos" 
whence our word " quarters" may be derived. There is seldom 


any furniture in them ; whatever is wanted, is or is not to be had of 
the host from some lock-up store. A rigid puritan will be much 
distressed for the lack of any artificial contrivance to hold water ; 
the best toilette on these occasions is a river's bank, but rivers 
in unvisited interiors of the Castiles are often rarer even than 
water-basins. It is, however, no use to draw nets in streams 
where there are no fish, nor to expect to find conveniences which 
no one else ever asks for, and those articles which seem to the 
foreigner to be of tlie commonest and daily necessity, are un- 
known to the natives. However, as there are no carpets to be 
spoiled, and cold water retains its properties although brought 
up in a horse-bucket or in the cook's brass cauldron, ablutions, 
as the albums express it, can be performed. What a school, 
after all, a venta is to the slaves of comforts, and without liow 
many absolute essentials do they manage to get on, and happily ! 
What lessons are tauglit of good-humoured patience, and that 
British sailor characteristic of making the best of every occur- 
rence, and deeming any port a good one in a storm ! Complaint 
is of no use ; if you tell the landlord that his wine is more 
sour than his vinegar, he will gravely reply, " ^''«?«or, that cannot 
be, for both came out of the same cask." 

The portion of the ground-floor which is divided by the 
public entrance from the stables, is dedicated to the kitchen and 
accommodation of the travellers. The kitchen consists of a 
huge open range, generally on the floor, the ollas pots and culi- 
nary vessels being placed against the fire arranged in circles, as 
described by Martial, " multa villica quem coronat olid,'' who, 
as a good Spaniard would do to this day, after thirty -five years' 
absence at Rome, writes, after his return to Spain, to his friend 
Juvenal a full account of the real comforts that he once more 
enjoys in liis best-beloved patria, and which remind us of the 
domestic details in the opening chapter of Don Quixote. These 
rows of pipkins are kept up by round stones called " sesos;' 
brains; above is a liigh, wide chimney, which is armed with 
iron-work for suspending pots of a large size ; sometimes there 
are a few stoves of masonry, but more frequently they are only 
the portable ones of tlie East. Around the blackened walls are 
arranged pots and pipkins, gridirons and frying-pans, whicli hang 
hi rows, like tadpoles of all sizes, to accommodate large or small 

178 VENTA GARLIC. [chap. xv. 

parties, and the more the better ; it is a good sign, " en casa 
llena, pronto se guisa cenar Supper is then sooner ready. 

The vicinity of the kitchen fire being the warmest spot, and the 
nearest to the flesh-pot, is the querencia, the favourite " resort" 
of the muleteers and travelling- bagsmen, especially when cold, 
wet, and huntjry. The first come are the best served, says 
the proverb, in the matters of soup and love. The earliest ar- 
rivals take the cosiest corner seats near the fire, and secure the 
promptest non-attendance; for the better class of guests there is 
sometimes a " private apartment," or the boudoir of the ventera, 
wliicli is made over to those who bring courtesy in their mouths, 
and seem to have cash in their pockets ; but these out-of-the 
way curiosities of comfort do not always suit either author or 
artist, and the social kitchen is preferable to solitary state. 
When a stranger enters into it, if he salutes the company, " My 
lords and knights, do not let your graces molest yourselves," or 
courteously indicates his desire to treat them with respect, they 
will assuredly more than return the compliment, and as good 
breeding is instinctive in the Spaniard, will rise and insist on his 
taking the best and highest seat. Greater, indeed, is their reward 
and satisfaction, if they discover that the invited one can talk to 
them in their own lingo, and understands their feelings by circu- 
lating his cigars and wine bota among them. 

At the side of the kitchen is a den of a room, into which the 
ventero keeps stowed away tliat stock of raw materials which 
forms the foundation of the national cuisine, and in which garlic 
plays the first fiddle. The very name, like that of monk, is 
enough to give offence to most English. The evil consists, 
however, in the abuse, not in the use : from the quantity eaten 
in all southern countries, where it is considered to be fra- 
grant, palatable, stomachic, and invigorating, we must assume 
that it is suited by nature to local tastes and constitutions. 
Wherever any particular herb grows, there lives the ass who is 
to eat it. " Donde crece la cscoba, nace el asno que la roya." 
Nor is garlic necessarily eitlier a poison or a source of baseness ; 
for Henry IV. was no sooner born, than his lips were rubbed 
with a clove of it by his grandfather, after tlie revered old 
custom of Beam. 

Bread, wine, and raw garlic, says the proverb, make a youiig 


man go briskly, Pan, vino, y ajo crudo, hucen andar al rnozo 
agudo. The bettei* classes turn up their noses at this odoriferous 
delicacy of the lower classes, which was forbidden per statute 
by Alonzo XI. to his knights of La Banda ; and Don Quixote 
cautions Sancho Panza to be moderate in this food, as not be- 
coming to a governor : with even such personages however it is a 
struggle, and one of the greatest sacrifices to the altar of civili- 
zation and les convenances. To give Spanish garlic its due, it 
must be said that, when administered by a judicious hand (for, 
like prussic acid, all depends on the quantity), it is far milder 
than the English. Spanisli garlic and onions degenerate after 
three years' planting when transplanted into England. They gain 
in pungency and smell, just as English foxhounds, when drafted 
into Spain, lose their strength and scent in the third generation. 
A clove of garlic is called un diente, a tooth. Those who dis- 
like the piquant vegetable must place a sentinel over the cook 
of the venta while she is putting into her cauldron the ingredients 
of his supper, or Avicenna will not save him ; for if God sends 
meats, and here they are a godsend, the evil one provides the 
cooks of the venta, who certainly do bedevil many things. 

Thrice happy, then, the man blessed with a provident servant 
who has foraged on the road, and comes prepared with cates on 
which no Castilian Canidia has breathed ; while they are stewing 
he may, if he be a poet, rival those sonnets made in Don Quixote 
on Sancho's ass, saddle-bags, and sapient attention to their pro- 
vend, " su cuerda providencia.'' The odour and good tidings of 
the arrival of unusual delicacies soon spread far and wide in the 
village, and generally attract the Cura, who loves to hear 
something new, and does not dislike savoury food : the quality of 
a Spaniard's temperance, like that of Iiis mercy, is strained ; his 
poverty and nut his will consents to more and other fastings 
than to those enjoined by the church ; hunger, the sauce of Saint 
Bernard, is one of the few wants which is not experienced in a 
Spanish venta. Our practice in one was to invite the curate, by 
begging him to bless the pot-luck, to whicli he did ample justice, 
and more than repaid for its visible diminution by good fellow- 
ship, local information, and the credit reflected on the stranger 
in the eyes of the natives, by behohling him thus patronised by 
their pastor and master. It is not to be denied in the case of a 


stew of partridges, that deep sighs and exclamations que rico ! 
" how rich ! " escape the envious lips of his hungry flock when 
they behold and whiff the odoriferous dish as it smokes past them 
like a railway locomotive. 

Nor, it must be said, was all this hospitality on one side ; it has 
more than once befallen us in the rude ventas of the Salamanca 
district, that the silver-haired cura, whose living barely furnished 
the means whereby to live, on hearing the simple fact that an 
Englishman was arrived, has come down to offer his house and 
fare. Such, or indeed any Spaniard's invitation is not to be 
accepted by those who value liberty of action or time ; seat 
rather the good man at the head of the vcnta board, and reo-ale 
him with your best cigar, he will tell you oi El gran Lor — the 
great Loi'd — the Cid of England ; he will recount the Duke's 
victories, and dwell on the good faith, mercy, and justice of our 
brave soldiers, as he will execrate the cruelty, rapacity, and 
perfidy of those who fled before their gleaming bayonets. 

But, to return to first arrival at ventas, whether saddle-baff 
or stomach be empty or full, the ventero when you enter remains 
unmoved and imperturbable, as if he never had had an appetite, 
or had lost it, or had dined. Not that his genus ever are seen 
eating except when invited to a guest's stew ; air, the economical 
ration of the chameleon, seems to be his habitual sustenance, and 
still more as to liis wife and womankind, who never will sit 
and eat even with the stranger ; nay, in humbler Spanish families 
they seem to dine with the cat in some corner, and on scraps ; 
this is a remnant of the Roman and Moorish treatment of women 
as inferiors. Their lord and husband, the innkeeper, cannot 
conceive why foreigners on their arrival are always so impatient, 
and is equally surprised at their inordinate appetite ; an English 
landlord's first question " Will you not like to take some refresh- 
ment ?" is the very last which he would think of putting ; some- 
times by giving him a cigar, by coaxing his wife, flattering his 
daughter, and caressing Maritornes, you may get a couple of his 
polios or fowls, which run about the ground-floor, picking up 
anything, and ready to be picked up themselves and dressed. 

All the operations of cookery and eating, of killing, sousing 
in boiling water, plucking, et csetera, all preparatory as well as 
final, go on in this open kitchen. They are carried out bv the 


ventera and her daughters or maids, or by some crabbed, smoke- 
dried, shrivelled old she-cat, that is, or at least is called, the 
" <2a," " my aunt," and who is the subject of the good-humoured 
remarks of the courteous and hungry traveller before dinner, 
and of his full stomach jests afterwards. The assembled parties 
crowd round the fire, watching and assisting each at their own 
savoury messes, " Un ojo a la sarten, y otro a lagata" — " One eye 
to the pan, the other to tlie real cat," whose very existence in a 
venta, and among the pots, is a miracle ; by the way, the naturalist 
will observe that their ears and tails are almost always cropped 
closely to the stumps. All and each of the travellers, when their 
respective stews are ready, form clusters and groups round the 
frying-pan, which is moved from the fire hot and smoking, and 
placed on a low table or block of wood before them, or the 
unctuous contents are emptied into a huge earthen reddish dish, 
which in form and colour is the precise paropsis, the food 
platter, described by Martial and by other ancient authors. 
Chairs are a luxury ; the lower classes sit on the ground as in the 
East, or on low stools, and fall to in a most Oriental manner, witli 
an un-European ignorance of forks ;* for which they substitute a 
short wooden or horn spoon, or dip their bread into the dish, or 
fish up morsels with their long pointed knives. They eat 
copiously, but with gravity — with appetite, but without greedi- 
ness ; for none of any nation, as a mass, are better bred or man- 
nered than the lower classes of Spaniards. 

They are very pressing in their invitations whenever any eat- 
ing is going on. No Spaniard or Spaniards, liowever humble 
their class or fare, ever allow any one to come near or pass them 
when eating, without inviting him to partake. " Guste ustecl 
comer ? " " Will your grace be pleased to dine ? " No traveller 
should ever omit to go throiigh this courtesy whenever any 
Spaniards, high or low, approach him when at any meal, espe- 
cially if taking it out of doors, which often happens in these 

* Forks are an Italian invention: old Coryate, -who introduced this 
'' neatnesse " into Somersetshire, about IGOO, was called y»rc{/pr by his 
friends. Alexander Barclay thus describes the previous English mode of 
eating, which sounds very ventaish, although worse mannered : — 

" If the dishe be pleasaunt, eyther flesche or fische, 
Ten hands at once swarm in the dishe." 


182 VENTA EATING. [chap, xv 

jouriifcyings ; nor is it altogether an empty form ; all classes con- 
sider it a compliment if a stranger, and especially an English- 
man, will condescend to share their dinner. In the smaller 
towns, those invited by English will often partake, even the 
better classes, and who have already dined ; they think it civil 
to accept, and rude to I'efuse the invitation, and have no objection 
to eating any given good thing, M'hich is the exception to their 
ordinary frugal habits : all this is quite Arabian. The Spaniards 
seldom accept the invitation at o)ice ; they expect to be urged 
by an obsequious host, in order to appear to do a gentle violence 
to their stomachs by eating to oblige him. The angels declined 
Lot's offered hospitalities until they were " pressed greatly." 
Travellers in Spain must not forget tliis still existing Oriental 
trait ; for if they do not greatly press their offer, they are under- 
stood as meaning it to be a mere empty compliment. We have 
known Spaniards who have called with an intention of staying 
dinner, go away, because this ceremony was not gone through 
according to their punctilious notions, to which our off-hand 
manners are diametrically opposed. Hospitality in a hungry 
inn-less land becomes, as in the East, a sacred duty ; if a man 
eats all the provender by himself, he cannot expect to have 
many friends. Generally speaking, the offer is not accepted ; it 
is always declined with the same courtesy which prompts the in- 
vitation. " Miichas gracias, huen pioveclio le haga a usted" 
" Many thanks — much good may it do your grace," an answer 
which is analogous to the prosit of Italian peasants after eating 
or sneezing. These customs, both of inviting and declining, 
tally exactly, and even to the expressions used among tiie Arabs 
to this day. Every passer-by is invited by Orientals — " Bis- 
millah ya seedee" which means both a grace and invitation — 
"In the name of God, sir, (e. e.) will you dine with us ?" or 
" Tafud'-dal" " Do me the favour to partake of this repast." 
Those who decline reply, " Henee an" " May it benefit." 

Supper, which, as with the ancients, is their principal meal, is 
seasoned with copious draughts of the wine of the country, drunk 
out of a jug or bota which we have already described, for glasses 
do not abound ; after it is done, cigars are lighted, the rude seats 
are drawn closer to the fire, stories are told, principally on robber 
or love events, the latter of which are by far the truest. Jokes 


are given and taken ; laughter, inextinguishable as that of Homer's 
gods, forms the chorus of conversation, especially after good 
eating or drinking, to which it is the best dessert. In due time 
songs are sung, a guitar is strummed, for some black-whiskered 
Figaro is sure to have heard of the " arrival," and steals down 
from the pure love of harmony and charms of a cigar ; then 
flock in peasants of both sexes, dancing is set on foot, the fatigues 
of the day are forgotten, and the catcliing sympathy of mirth 
extending to all, is prolonged until far into the night ; durino- 
which, as they take a long siesta in the day, all are as wakeful 
as owls, and worse caterwaulers than cats ; to describe the scene 
baffles the art of pen or pencil. The roars, the dust, the want 
of everything in these low-classed ventas, are emblems of the 
nothingness of Spanish life — a jest. One by one the company 
drops off; the better classes go up stairs, the humbler and vast 
majority make up their bed on the ground, near their animals, and 
like them, full of food and free from care, fall instantly asleep 
in spite of the noise and discomfort by which they are surrounded. 
This counterfeit of death is more equalizing, as Don Quixote says, 
than death itself, for an honest Spanish muleteer stretched on his 
hard pallet sleeps sounder than many an uneasy trickster head 
that wears another's crown. " Sleep," says Sancho, " covers one 
over like a cloak," and a cloak or its cognate mantle forms the 
best part of their wardrobe by day, and their bed furniture by 
night. The earth is now, as it was to the Iberians, the national 
bed ; nay, the Spanish word which expresses that commodity, 
cama, is derived from the Greek Kafxai. Thus they are lodged 
on the ground floor, and thereby escape the three classes of little 
animals which, like the inseparable Graces, are always to be 
found in fine climates in tlie wholesale, and in Spanish ventas in 
the retail. Their pillow is composed either of their pack-sad 
dies or saddle-bags ; their sleep is short, but profound. Long 
before daylight all are in motion ; " they take up their bed," the 
animals are fed, harnessed, and laden, and the heaviest sleepers 
awakened : there is little morning toilette, no time or soap is 
lost by biped or quadruped in the processes of grooming or 
lavation : both carry their wardrobes on their back, and trust to 
the shower and the sun to cleanse and bleach ; their moderate 
accounts are paid, salutations or execrations (generally the 



latter), according- to the length of the bills, pass between them 
and their landlords, and another day of toil begins. Our faithful 
and trustworthy squire seldom failed for a couple of hours after 
leaving the venta to pour forth an eloquent stream of oaths, in- 
vectives, and lamentations at the dearness of inns, the rascality 
of their keepers in general, and of the host of the preceding 
night in particular, although probably a couple of dollars had 
cleared the account for a couple of men and animals, and he 
himself had divided the extra-extortion with the honest ventero. 

These Spanish venta scenes vary every day and night, as a new 
set of actors make their first and last appearance before the tra- 
veller : of one thing there can be no mistake, he has got out of 
England, and tlie present year of our Lord. Their undeniable 
smack of antiquity gives them a relish, a horracha, which is un- 
known in Great Britain, where all is fused and modernized down 
to last Saturday night ; here alone can you see and study those 
manners and events which must have occurred on the same sites 
when Hannibal and Scipio were last tliere, as it would be very 
easy to work out from the classical authors. We would just suggest 
a comparison between the arrangement of the Spanish country 
venta with that of the Roman inn now uncovered at the en- 
trance of Pompeii, and its exact counterpart, the modern " o*- 
teria" in the same district of Kaples. In the Museo Borbonico 
will be found types of most of the utensils now used in Spain, 
while the Oriental and most ancient style of cuisine is equally 
easy to be identified with the notices left us in the cookery books of 
antiquity. The same may be said of the tambourines, castanets, 
songs, and dances, — in a word, of everything ; and, indeed, when 
all are hushed in sleep, and stretched like corpses amid their 
beasts, the Valencians especially, in their sandals and kilts, in 
their mantas, and in and on their rush-baskets and mattings, we 
feel that Strabo nmst have belield tiie old Iberians exactly in 
the same costume and position, when he told us what we see 
now to be true, to ttXiov tv aayoiCy £v oig Tep Kai (TTijoa^oKOiTOvai. 

The " ventorilld" is a lower class of venta — for there is a deeper 
bathos ; it is the German kncipe or hedge ale-house, and is often 
nothing more than a mere hut, run up with reeds or branches of 
trees by the road-side, at which water, bad wine, and brandy, 
•' aguardiente" tooth water, are to be sold. The latter is always 


detestable, raw, and disflavoured with aniseed, and turns white 
in water like Eau de Cologne, not that the natives ever expose 
it to such a trial. These " ventorillos" are at best suspicious 
places, and the haunts of the spies of regular robbers, or of 
skulking footpads when there are any, who lurk inside with the 
proprietress ; she herself generally might sit as a model for 
Hecate, or for one of the witches in Shakspere o\'er their caul- 
dron ; her attendant imps are, however, sufficiently interesting 
personages to form a chapter by themselves. 

186 SPANISH ROBBERS. [chap. xTi. 


Spanish Robbers — A Robber Adventure — Guardias Ci'V'iles — Exaggerated 
Accounts — Cross of the Murdered — Idle Robber Tales — French Ban- 
dittiphobia — Robber History — Guerrilleros — Smugglers — Jose Maria — 
Robbers of the First Class — The Ratero — Miguelites — Escorts and Es- 
copeteros — Passes, Protections, and Talismans — Execution of a Robber. 

An oUa without bacon would scarcely be less insipid than a 
volume on Spain without banditti ; the stimulant is not less neces- 
sary for the established taste of the home-market, than brandy is 
for pale sherries neat as imported. In the mean time, while the 
timid hesitate to put their heads into this supposed den of 
thieves as much as into a house that is haunted, tliose who are 
not scared by sliadows, and do not share in tlie fears of cockney 
critics and delicate writers in satin-paper albums, but adventure 
boldly into the hornet's nest, come back in a firm belief of the 
non-existence of the robber genus. In Spain, that pays de 
riniprevu, this unexpected absence of personages who render 
roads uncomfortable, is one of the many and not disagreeable 
surprises, which await those who prefer to judge of a country by 
going there theniselves, rather than to put implicit faith in the 
foregone conclusions and stereotyped prejudices of those who 
have not, although they do sit in judgment on those wlio have, 
and decide " without a view." This very summer, some dozen 
and more friends of ours have made tours in various parts of the 
Peninsula, driving and riding unarmed and unescorted through 
localities of former suspicion, without having the good luck of 
meeting even with the ghost of a departed robber ; in truth and 
fact, we cannot but remember that such things as monks and 
banditti were, although they must be spoken of rather in the 
past tlian in the present tense. 

The actual security of the Spanisli highways is due to the 
Moderados, as the French party and imitators of the juste 
milieu are called, and at the head of whom may be placed 


SeHior Martinez de la Rosa. He, indeed, is a moderate in 
poetry as well as politics, and a rare specimen of that sublime of 
mediocrity which, according to Horace, neither men, gods, nor 
booksellers can tolerate ; his reputation as an autlior and states- 
man — alas ! poor Cervantes and Cisneros — proves too truly the 
present efFeteness of Spain. Her pen and her sword are 
blunted, her laurels are sear, and her womb is barren ; but, 
among the blind, he who has one eye is king. 

This dramatist, in the May of 1833, Avas summoned from his 
exile at Granada to Madrid by the suspicious Calomarde. The 
mail in which he travelled was stopped by robbers about ten 
o'clock of a wet night near Almuradiel ; — the guard., at the first 
notice, throwing himself on his belly, with his tace in the mud, 
in imitation of the postilions, who pay great respect to the gen- 
tlemen of the road. The passengers consisted of himself, a Ger- 
man artist, and an English friend of ours now in London, and 
who, having given up his well-garnished purse at once with 
great good-humour, was most courteously treated by tlie well- 
satisfied recipients : not so the Deutscher, on whom tliey were 
about to do personal violence in revenge for a scanty scrip, had 
not his profession been explained by our friend, by whose in- 
terference he was let off. Meanwhile, i\\e Don was hiding his 
watch in the carriage lining, which he cut open, and was con- 
cealing his few dollars, the existence of which when questioned 
he stoutly denied. They, however, re-appeared under threats of 
the bastinado, which were all but inflicted. The passengers were 
then permitted to depart in peace, the leader of their spoilers 
having first shaken hands with our informant, and wished him a 
pleasant journey : " May your grace go with God and without 
novelty ;" adding, " You are a cahaUero, a gentleman, as all 
the Englisli are ; the German is a pobrecito, a poor devil ; the 
Spaniard is an emhustero, a regular swindler." This latter 
gentleman, thus hardly delineated by his Lavater countryman, 
has since more than gotten back his cash, having risen to be 
prime minister to Christina, and humble and devoted servant of 
Louis-Philippe, cosas de EspaTia. 

Possibly tliis little incident may have facilitated the introduc- 
tion of tlie niounted guards, who are now stationed in towns, 
and by whom the roads are rei?-idarly patrolled ; they are called 

188 GUAKDIAS CIVILES. [chap. xvi. 

guardias civiles, and have replaced the ancient " brotherhood " 
of Ferdinand and Isabella. As tliey have been dressed and 
modelled after the fashion of the transpyrenean gendarmerie, 
the Spaniards, who never lose a chance of a happy nickname, 
or of a fling at the things of their neighbour, whom they do not 
love, term them, either Polizontes or Polizones, words with 
which they have enriclied their phraseology, and that represent 
the French polissons, scoundrels, or they call them Hijos de Luis- 
Philipe, " sons of Louis-Pliilippe ;" for they are ill-bred enough, 
in spite of the Montpensier marriage, and the Nelsonic achieve- 
ments of Monsieur de Joinville, to consider the words as 

The number of these rogues, French king's sons, civil guards, 
call them as you will, exceeds five thousand. During the recent 
Machiavelianisms of their putative father, they have been quite 
as much employed in the towns as on the highway, and for 
political purposes rather than those of pure police, having been 
used to keep down the expression of indignant public opinion, and, 
instead of catching thieves, in upholding those first-rate criminals, 
foreign and domestic, who are now robbiiig poor Spain of her 
gold and liberties; but so it has always been. Indeed, when we 
first arrived in the Peninsula, and naturally made enquiries about 
banditti, according to all sensible Spaniards, it was not on the 
road that they were most likely to be found, but in the confes- 
sional boxes, the lawyers' offices, and still more in the bureaux 
of government ; and even in England some think that purses 
are exposed to more danger in Chancery Lane and Stone Build- 
ings, than in the worst cross-road, or the most rocky mountain 
pass in the Peninsula. 

It will be long, however, before this " great fact " is believed 
within the sound of Bow-bells, where many of those who provide 
the reading public with correct information, dislike having to 
eat their own words, and to have their settled opinions shaken or 
contradicted. Nor is it pleasant at a certain time of life to go 
again to school, as one does when studying Niebuhr's Roman 
History, and then to find that the alphabet must be re-begun, since 
all that was thought to be right is in fact wrong. Distant 
Spain is ever looked at through a telescope which either magnifies 
richness and goodness, from which half at least must be deducted 


according to the proverb, de los dineros y bondad, se ha de 
quitar la mitad, or darkens its dangers and difficulties through 
a discoloured medium. A bad name given to a dog or country 
is very adhesive ; and the many will repeat each other in 
cuckoo-note. " II y a des choses," says Montesquieu, " que 
tout le monde dit, parcequ'elles out ete dites une fois ;" thus one 
silly sheep makes many, who will follow their leader ; cvejas y 
bobas, donde va wia, van todas. So in the end error becomes 
stamped with current authority, and is received, until the false, 
imaginary picture is alone esteemed, and the true, original por- 
trait scouted as a cheat. 

It has so long and annually been considered permissible, when 
writing about romantic Spain, to take leave of common sense, 
to ascend on stilts, and converse in the Cambyses vein, that those 
who descend to humble prose, and confine themselves to com- 
monplace matter-of-fact, are considered not only to be insesthetic, 
unpoetical, and unimaginative, but deficient in truth and power 
of observation. The genius of the land, when speaking of itself 
and its things, is prone to say the thing which is not ; and it 
must be admitted that the locality lends itself often and readily to 
misconceptions. The leagues and leagues of lonely hills and 
wastes, over which beasts of prey roam, and above wliich vultures 
sulkily rising part the light air with heavy wing, are easily 
peopled, by those who are in a prepared train of mind, with 
equally rapacious bipeds of Plato's unfeathered species. Rocky 
passes, contrived as it were on purpose for ambuscades, tangled 
glens overrun with underwood, in spite of the prodigality of beauty 
which arrests the artist, suggest the lair of snakes and robbers. 
i!^or is the feeling diminished by meeting the fi-equent crosses 
set up on classically piled heaps, which mark the grave of some 
murdered man, whose simple, touching epitaph tells the name 
of the departed, the date of the treacherous stab, and entreats 
the passenger, who is as he was, and may be in an instant as 
he is, to pray for his unannealed soul. A shadow of death 
hovers over such spots, and throws the stranger on his own 
thoughts, which, from early associations, are somewhat in unison 
with the scene. Nor is the welcome of the outstretched arms 
of these crosses over-hearty, albeit they are sometimes hung 
with flowers, which mock the dead. JNor are all sermons more 


eloquent than these silent stones, on which such brief emblems 
are fixed. The Spaniards, from long habit, are less affected by 
them than foreigners, being all accustomed to behold crosses 
and bleeding crucifixes in churches and out ; they moreover well 
know that by far the greater projiortion of tliese memorials have 
been raised to record murders, which have not been perpetrated 
by robbers, but are the results of sudden quarrel or of long 
brooded-over revenge, and that wine and women, nine times out 
of ten, are at the bottom of the calamity. Nevertheless, it 
makes a stout English heart uncomfortable, although it is of 
little use to be afraid when one is in for it, and on the spot. 
Then there is no better chance of escape, than to brave the peril 
and to ride on. Turn, therefore, dear reader, a deaf ear to the 
tales of local terror which will be told in every out-of-the-way 
village by the credulous, timid inhabitants. You, as we have 
oflen been, will be congratulated on having passed such and 
such a wood, and will be assured that you will infallibly be 
robbed at such and such a spot a few leagues onward. We have 
always found that this ignis fatuus, like the horizon, has receded 
as we advanced ; the dangerous spot is either a little behind or 
a little before the actual place — it vanishes, as most difficulties 
do, when boldly approached and grappled with. 

At the same time these sorts of places and events admit of 
much fine writing when people get safely back again, to say 
nothing of the dignity and heroic elevation which may be thus 
obtained by such an exhibition of valour during the long vaca- 
tion. Peaked hats, hair-breadtii escapes from long knives and 
mustacliios, lying down for an hour on your stomach with your 
mouth in the mud, are little interludes so diameti-ically opposed 
to civilization, and the humdrum, unpicturesque routine of free 
Britons wlio pay way and police rates, that they form almost 
irresistible topics to tlie pen of a ready wa-iter. And such ex- 
citing incidents are sure to take, and to affect the public at home, 
who, moreover, are much pleased by the perusal of autheyitic ac- 
counts from Spain itself, and the best and latest intelligence, which 
tally with their own preconceived ideas of the land. Hence 
those authors are the most popular who put the self-love of their 
reader in best humour with his own stock of knowleda-e. And 
this accounts for the frequency, in Peninsular sketches, personal 


narratives, and so forth, of robberies which are certainly oftener 
to be met with in their pages than on tlie plains of the Penin- 
sula. The writers know that a bandit adventure is as much 
expected in the journals of such travels as in one of Mrs. Eat- 
cliffe's romances ; such fleeting books are chiefly made by 
" striking events ;" accordingly, the authors string together all 
the floating traditional horrors which they can scrape together on 
Spanish roads, and thus feed and keep up the notion entertained 
in many counties of England, that the whole Peninsula is 
peopled with banditti. If such were the case society could not 
exist, and the very fact, of almost all of the reporters having them- 
selves escaped by a miracle, might lead to the inference that most 
other persons escape likewise : a blot is not a blot till it is hit. 

Our ingenious neighbours, strange to say in so gallant a 
people, have a still more decided bandittiphobia. According to 
what the badauds of Paris are told in print, every rash indi- 
vidual, before he takes his place in tlie dilly for Spain, ought by 
all means to make his will, as was done four hundred years ago 
at starting on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem ; possibly this may be 
predicated in the spirit of French diplomacy, which always has 
a concealed arriere pensee, and it may be bruited abroad, on the 
principle with which illicit distillers and coin-forgers give out 
that certain localities are haunted, in order to scare away others, 
and thus preserve for themselves a quiet possession. Perhaps 
the superabundance of I'esprit Franqais may give colour and 
substance to forms insignificant in themselves, as a painter lost 
in a brown study over a coal fire converts cinders into castles, 
monsters, and other creatures of his lively imagination ; or it 
may be, as conscience makes cowards of all, that these gentle- 
men really see a bandit in every bush of Spain, and expect from 
behind every rock an avenging minister of retaliation, in whose 
pocket is a list of the church plate, Murillos, &c. which were 
found missing after their countrymen's invasion. Be that as it may, 
even so clever a man as Monsieur Quinet, a real Dr. Syntax, 
fills pages of his recent Vacances with his continual trepidations, 
although, from having arrived at his journey's end without any 
sort of accident, albeit not without every kind of fear, it might 
have crossed him, that the bugbears existed only in his own head, 
and he might have concealed, in his pleasant pages, a frame of 

192 PSEUDO-BANDIT LOOKS. [chap. xvi. 

mind the exhibition of which, in England at least, inspires 
neither interest nor respect ; an over-care of self is not over-heroic. 
It must be also admitted that the respectability and character 
of many a Spaniard is liable to be misunderstood, when he sets 
forth on any of his travels, except in a public wheel conveyance; 
as we said in our ninth chapter, he assumes the national costume 
of the road, and leaves his wife and long-tailed coat behind him. 
Now as most Spaniards are muffled up and clad after the approved 
melodrame fashion of robbers, they may be mistaken for them in 
reality ; indeed they are generally sallow, have fierce black eyes, 
uncombed hair, and on these occasions neglect the daily use of 
towels and razors ; a long beard gives, and not in Spain alone, 
a ferocious ruffian-like look, which is not diminished when gun 
and knife are added to match faces a la Brutus. Again, these 
wortliies thus equipped, have sometimes a trick of staring rather 
fixedly from under their slouched hat at the passing stranger, 
whose, to them, outlandish costume excites curiosity and sus- 
picion ; naturally therefore some difficulty does exist in distin- 
guishing the merino from the wolf, wlien both are disguised in 
the same clothing — a zamarra sheepskin to wit. A private 
Spanish gentleman, who, in his native town, would be the model 
of a peaceable and inoflf'ensive burgess, or a respectable haber- 
dasher, has, when on his commercial tour, altogether the appear- 
ance of the Bravo of Venice, and such-like heroes, by whom 
children are frightened at a minor theatre. In consequence 
of the difficulty of outliving what has been learnt in the nur- 
sery, many of our countrymen have, with the best 'intentions, 
set down the bulk of tlie population of the Peninsula as one gang 
of robbers — they have exaggerated their numbers like Falstaff's 
men of buckram ; the said imagined Rinaldo Ilinaldinis being 
probably in a still greater state of alarm from having on their 
part taken our said countrymen for robbers, and this mutual mis- 
understanding continues, until both explain their slight mistake 
of each other's character and intention. Although we never fell 
into the error of thus mistaking Spanish peaceable traders for 
privateers and men-of-war, yet that injustice has been done by 
them to us ; possibly tliis compliment may have been paid to our 
careful observation of the bearing and garb of their great Rob 
Roy himself and in his own country, which, to one about to 


undertake, in those days, long and solitary rides over the Penin- 
sula, was an unspeakable advantage. 

But even in those perilous times, robberies were the exception, 
not the rule, in spite of the full, whole, and exact particulars of 
natives as well as strangers ; the accounts were equally exag- 
gerated by both parties ; in fact, the subject is the standing dish, 
the common topic of the lower classes of travellers, when talking 
and smoking round the venti fires, and forms the natural and 
agreeable religio loci, the associations connected with wild and 
cut-throat localities. Though these narrators' pleasure is mingled 
with fear and pain, they delight in such histories as children do 
in goblin tales. Their Oriental amplification is inferior only to 
their credulity, its twin sister, and they end in believing their own 
lies. Whenever a robbery really does take place, the report 
spreads far and wide, and gains in detail and atrocity, for no mule- 
teer's story or sailor's yarn loses in the telling. The same dire 
event, — names, dates, and localities only varied, — is served up, as a 
monkish miracle in the mediseval ages was, at many other places, 
and thus becomes infinitely multiplied. It is talked of for months 
all over the country, while the thousands of daily passengers 
who journey on unluirt are never mentioned. It is like the lot- 
tery, in which the great prize alone attracts attention, not the 
infinite majority of blanks. These robber-tales reach the cities, 
and are often believed by most respectable people, who pass their 
lives without stirring a league beyond the walls. They sympa- 
thize with all who are compelled to expose themselves to the 
great pains and perils, the travail of travel, and they endeavour 
with the most good-natured intentions to dissuade rash adven- 
turers from facing them, by stating as facts, the apprehensions of 
their own credulity and imagination. 

The muleteers, venleros, and masses of common Spaniards 
see in the anxious faces of timid strangers, that tlieir audience is 
in the listening and believing vein, and as they are garrulous and 
egotists by nature, they seize on a theme in which they alone hold 
forth ; they are pleased at being considered an authority, and 
with the superiority which conveying information gives, and the 
power of inspiring fear confers ; their mother-wit, in which few 
nations surpass them, soon discovers tlie sort of information 
which " our correspondent" is in want of, and as words here cost 

194 SPANISH ROBBER HISTORY. [chap, xvr, 

nothing, the gulping gobemouche is plentifully supplied with 
the required article. These reports are in due time set up in 
type, and are believed because in print ; thus the tricks played 
on poor Mr. Inglis and his note-book were the laiighter of the 
whole Peninsula, grave authorities caught the generous infection, 
until Mr. Mark's robber-jokes at Malaga were booked and swal- 
lowed as if he had been an apostle instead of a consul. 

As it was our fate to have wandered up and down the Peninsula 
when Ferdinand VII. was king of the Spains, and Jose Maria, 
at whose name old men and women there tremble yet, was 
autocrat of Andalucia, the moment was propitious for study- 
ing the philosophy of Spanish banditti, and our speculations 
were much benefited by a fortunate acquaintance with the 
redoubtable chief himself, from whom, as well as from many of 
his intelligent followers, we received much kindness and valuable 
information, which is acknowledged with thankfulness. 

Historically speaking, Spain has never enjoyed a good cha- 
racter in this matter of the hiarhwav ; it had but an indifferent 
reputation in the days of antiquity, but then, as now, it was 
generally the accusation of foreigners. The Romans, who had 
no business to invade it, were harassed by the native guerrilleros, 
those undisciplined bands who waged the " little war," which 
Iberia always did. Worried by these unmilitary voltigeurs, 
they called all Spaniards who resisted them '•'■ latrones ;^ just 
as the French invaders, from the same reasons, called them 
ladrones or brigands, because they had no uniform ; as if the 
wearing a schako given by a plundering marslial, could convert 
a pillager into a honest man, or the want of it could change into 
a thief, a noble patriot who was defending his own property and 
country ; but I'habit ne fait pas le moine, say the French, and 
aunque la mona se viste de seda, monase ipieda, although a mon- 
key di'esses in silk, monkey it remains, rejoin the Spaniards. 

Armed men are in fact the weed of the soil of Spain, in peace 
or war ; to iiave their hand against all mankind seems to be an 
instinct in every descendant of Ishmael, and particularly among 
this Quixotic branch, whose knight-errants, reformers on horse- 
back, have not unfrequently been robbers in the guise of gentle- 
men. During the war against Buonaparte, the Peninsula 
swarmed with insurgents, many of whom were inspired, by a 


sense of loyalty, with indignation at their outraged religion, and 
with a deep-rooted national loathing of the gahacho, and good 
service did these Minas and Co. do to the cause of their lawful 
king ; but others used patriotic professions as specious cloaks to 
cover their instinctive passion for a lawless and freebooting 
career, and before the liberation of the country was effected, had 
become formidable to all parties alike. The Duke of Wellington, 
with his characteristic sagacity, foresaw, at his victorious conclu- 
sion of the struggle, how difficult it would be to weed out " this 
strange fruit borne on a tree grafted by patriotism." The transi- 
tion from murdering a Frenchman, to plundering a stranger, 
appeared a simple process to these patriotic scions, whose 
numbers were swelled with all who were, or who considered 
themselves to be, ill used — with all who could not dig, and were 
ashamed to beg. The evil was diminished during the latter 
years of tiie reign of Ferdinand VII., when the old hands began 
to die oif, and an advance in social improvement was imquestion- 
ably general, before which these lawless occupations gave way, 
as surely as wild animals of prey do before improved cultivation. 
These evils, that are abated by internal quiet and the continued 
exertions of the authorities, increase v/ith troubled times, wliich, 
as the tempest calls forth the stormy petrel, rouse into dan- 
gerous action the worst portions of society, and create a sort of 
civil cachexia, as we now see in Ireland. 

Another source was, not to say is, Gibraltar, that hot-bed of 
contraband, tliat nursery of the smuggler, the prima materia of 
a robber and murderer. The financial ignorance of the Spanish 
government calls him in, to correct the errors of Chancellors of 
Exchequers : — '' trovata la legge, trovato I'inganno." The fiscal 
regulations are so ingeniously absurd, complicated, and vexatious, 
that the honest, legitimate merchant is as much embarrassed as 
the irregular trader is favoured. The operation of excessive 
duties on objects which people must, and therefore will have, is 
as strikingly exemplified in the case of tobacco in Andalucia, as 
it is in that, and many other articles on the Kent and Sussex 
coasts : in both countries the fiscal scourge leads to breaches of 
the peace, injury to the fair dealer, and loss to the revenue ; it 
renders idle, predatory and ferocious, a peasantry which, under a 
wiser system, and if not exposed to overpowering temptation, 

19G SMUGGLERS. [chap. xvi. 

might become virtuous and industrious. In Spain the evasion of 
such laws is only considered as cheating those who cheat the 
people ; the villagers are heart and soul in favour of the smuggler, 
as they are of the poacher in England; all their prejudices are 
on his side. Some of the mountain curates, whose flocks are all 
in that line, deal with the crime in their sermons as a conven- 
tional, not a moral, one ; and, like other people, decorate their 
mantelpieces with a painted clay figure of the sinner in his 
full majo dress. The smuggler himself, so far from feeling 
degraded, enjoys the reputation vviiich attends success in per- 
sonal adventure, among a people proud of individual prowess ; 
he is the hero of the Spanish stage, and comes on equipped in 
full costume, with his blunderbuss, to sing the well-known " Yo i 
que soy contrabandistal yofioT'' to the delight of all listeners from 
the Straits to the Bidasoa, custom-house officers not excepted. 

The prestige of such a theatrical exhibition, like the ' Robbers ' 
of Schiller, is enough to make all tlie students of Salamanca 
take to the high-road. The contrabandista is the Turpin, the 
Macheath of reality, and those heroes of the old ballads and theatres 
of England, who have disappeared more in consequence of enclo- 
sures, rapid conveyances, and macadamization (for there is 
nothing so liateful to a highwayman as gas and a turnpike), tli^n 
from fear of the prison or the halter. The writings of Smollett, 
the recollections of many now alive of the dangers of Hounslovv 
Heath and Finchley Common, recall scenes of life and manners 
from which we have not long emerged, and which have still 
more recently been corrected in Spain. The contrabandista in 
his real character is welcome in every village ; he is the news- 
paper and channel of intelligence ; he brings tea and gossip for 
tlie curate, money and cigars for the attorney, ribands and 
cottons for the women ; he is magnificently dressed, which has a 
great charm for all Moro-Iberian eyes ; he is bold and resolute 
— " none but the brave deserve the fair ;" a good rider and shot ; 
he knows every inch of the intricate country, wood or water, hill 
or dale ; in a word, he is admirably educated for the high-road 
— for what Froissart, speaking of the celebrated Amerigot 
Tetenoire, calls "a fayre and godlie life." And the transition 
from plundering the king's revenue, to taking one of his subjects' 
purse on the highway, is easy. 


Many circumstances combined to make this freebooting career 
popular among the lower classes. The delight of power, the 
exhibition of daring and valour, the temptation of sudden wealth, 
always so attractive to half-civilized nations, who prefer the rich 
spoil won by the bravery of an hour, to that of the drudgery of 
years ; the gorgeous apparel, the lavish expenditure, the song, 
the wassail, the smiles of the fair, and all the joyous life of liberty, 
freemasonry, and good fellowship, operated with irresistible force 
on a warlike, energetic, and imaginative population. 

Tills smuggling was the origin of Jose Maria's career, who 
rose to tlie highest rank and honours of his profession, as did 
Napoleo7i le Grand and " Jonathan Wild the Great," and prin- 
cipally, as Fielding says of his hero, by a power of doing mis- 
chief, and a principle of considering honesty to be a corruption 
oihonosty, the qualities of an ass (ovoq). But it is a great mistake 
to suppose that there always are men fitted to be captains of 
formidable gangs ; nature is chary in the production of such 
specimens of dangerous grandeur, and as ages may elapse 
before the world is cursed with another Alaric, Buonaparte, or 
Wild, so years may pass before Spain witnesses again another 
Jose Maria. 

The Ladron en grande, the robber on a great scale, is the 
grandee of the first class in his order ; he is the captain of a 
regularly-organized band of followers, from eight to fourteen in 
number, well armed and mounted, and entirely under command 
and discipline. These are very formidable ; and as they seldom 
attack any travellers except with overwhelming forces, and 
under circumstances of ambuscade and surprise, where every 
thing is in their favour, resistance is generally useless, and can 
only lead to fatal accidents. Never, for the sake of a sac de nuit, 
risk being sent to Erebus ; submit, therefore, at once and with 
good grace to the summons, which will take no denial, of" ahajo" 
down, " hoca d tierra" mouth to the earth. Those who have a 
score or so of dollars, four or five pounds, the loss of which will 
ruin no man, are very rarely ill-used ; a frank, confident, and good- 
humoured surrender not only prevents any bad treatment, but 
secures even civility during the disagreeable operation : pistols 
and sabres are, after all, a poor defence compared to civil words, 
as Mr. Cribb used to say. The Spaniard, by nature high-bred 


198 FIRST-CLASS BANDITS. [chap. xvi. 

and a " caballero" responds to any appeal to qualities of which 
he thinks liis nation has reason to be proud ; he respects coolness 
of manner, in which bold men, although robbers, sympathise. 
Why should a man, because he loses a few dollars, lose also his 
presence of mind or temper, or perhaps life ? Nor are these gran- 
dees of the system without a certain magnanimity, as Cervantes 
knew right well. Witness his graphic account of Roque Guinart, 
whose conduct to his victims and beliaviour to his comrades tallied, 
to our certain knowledge, with that observed by Jose Maria, and 
was perfectly analogous to the similar traits of character exhi- 
bited by the Italian bandit Ghino de Tacco, the immortalized 
by Dante, as well as by our Robin Hood and Diana's foresters. 
Being strong, tliey could afford to be generous and merciful. 

Notwithstanding these moral securities, if only by way of 
making assurance doubly sure, ati Englishman will do well when 
travelling in exposed districts to be provided with a decent bag 
of dollars, which makes a handsome purse, feels lieavy in the 
hand, and is that sort of amount which the Spanish brigand 
thinks a native of our proverbially rich country ouglit to have 
with him on his travels. He has a remarkable tact in estimating 
from the look of an individual, his equipage, «&c., how much 
ready money it is befitting his condition for him to have about 
him ; if the sum should not be enough, he resents severely his 
being robbed of the regular perquisite to which he considers him- 
self entitled by the long-established usage of the high-road. The 
person unprovided altogether with cash is generally made a severe 
example of, pour encourager les autres, either by being well 
beaten or stripped to tlie skin, after the fashion of the thieves 
of old, near Jericho. Tlie traveller should have a watch of 
some kind — one with a gaudy gilt chain and seals is the best 
suited ; not to have one exposes him to more indignities than a 
scantily- filled purse. The money may have been spent, but the 
absence of a watch can only be accounted for by a premeditated 
intention of not being robbed of it, which the '■'■ ladron" con- 
siders as a most unjustifiable attempt to defraud him of his right. 

The Spanish " ladrones " are generally armed with a blun- 
derbuss, tliat hangs at their high-peaked saddles, which are 
covered with a white or blue fleece, emblematical enough of 
shearing propensities ; therefore, perhaps, the order of the golden 


fleece has been given to certain foreigners, in reward for having 
eased Spain of her independence and Murillos. Their dress is 
for the most part very rich, and in the highest style of the fancy ; 
hence they are the envy and models of the lower classes, being 
arrayed after tlie fashion of the smuggler, or the bull-fighter, or 
in a word, the " 7najo " or dandy of Andalucia, which is the 
home and head-quarters of all those who aspire to the elegant 
accomplishments and professions just alluded to. The next 
class of robbers — omitting some minor distinctions, such as the 
" salteadores " or two or three persons who lie in ambuscade and 
jump out on the unprepared traveller — is the " ratero" " the 
rat." He is not brought regularly up to the profession and 
organized, but takes to it on a sudden, and for the special occa- 
sion which, according to the proverb, makes a thief. La ocasion 
hace al ladron ; and having committed his petty larceny, returns 
to his pristine occupation or avocation. 

The " ruterillo," or small rat, is a skulking footpad, who 
seldom attacks any but single and unprotected passengers, who, 
if they get robbed, have no one to blame but themselves ; for 
no man is justified in exposing Spaniards to the temptation of 
doing a little something in that line. The shepherd with his 
sheep, the ploughman at his plougli, the vine-dresser amid his 
grapes, all have their gun, ostensibly for their individual protec- 
tion, which furnishes means of assaidt and battery against those 
who have no other defence but their legs and virtue. These 
self-same extemporaneous thieves are, however, remarkabl}" civil 
to armed and prepared travellers ; to them they touch their hats, 
and exclaim, "Good day to you, my lord knight," and "May 
your grace go with God," with all tliat innocent simplicity 
which is observable in pastorals, opera-ballets, and other equally 
correct representaiions of rural life. These rats aie held in as 
profound contempt by the higher classes of the profession, as 
political ones used to be, before parties were betrayed by turn- 
coats, who, with tails and without, deserted to the enemies' camp. 
The ladron en grande looks down on tliis sneaking competitor 
as a regular M.D. and member of the College of Physicians 
does on a quack, who presumes to take fees and kill without a 
licence. However despicable, these rats are very dangerous ; 
lacking tlie generous feeling which the possession of power and 


200 MIGUELITES. [chap. xvi. 

united force bestows, they liave the cowardice and cruelty of 
weakness : hence they frequently murder their victim, because 
dead men tell no tales. 

The distinction between these higher and lower classes of 
rogues will be better understood by comparing the Napoleon 
of war, with the Napoleon of peace. The Corsican was the 
ladron en grande ; he warred against mankind, he led his armed 
followers to pillage and plunder, he made his den the receiving 
house of the stolen goods of the Continent : but he did it openly 
and manfully by his own right hand and good sword ; and valour 
and audacity are qualities too high and rare not to command 
admiration — qualified, indeed, when so misapplied. Louis-Phi- 
lippe is a 7-atero, who, skulking under disguise of amity and good 
faith, works out in tlie dark, and by cunning, his ends of avarice 
and ambition ; who, acting on the artful dodger (no) principle, 
while kissing the Queen, picks her pocket of a crown. 

It must be stated for the purposes of history that at the time 
when Spain was, or was said to be, overrun with rats and rob- 
bers, there was, as Spaniards have it, a remedy for everything 
except death ; and as the evils were notorious, it was natural that 
means of prevention should likewise exist. If the state of things 
had been so bad as exaggerated report would infer, it would 
have been impossible that any travelling or traffic could have 
been managed in the Peninsula. The mails and diligences, 
being protected by government, were seldom attacked, and those 
who travelled by other methods, and had proper recommenda- 
tions, seldom failed in being provided by the authorities with a 
sufficient escort. A regular body of men was organized for that 
purpose ; they were called " Miguelites," from, it is said, one 
Miguel de Prats, an armed satellite of the famous or infamous 
Caesar Borgia. In Catalonia they are called " Mozos de la 
Escuadra" " Lads of the squadron, land marines ;" they are 
the modern " Hermandad" the brotherhood which formed the 
old Spanish rural armed police. Composed of picked and most 
active young men, they served on foot, under the orders of the 
military powers ; they were dressed in a sort of half uniform 
and half majo costume. Their gaiters were black instead of 
yellow, and their jackets of blue trimmed with red. They were 
well armed with a short gun and a belt round the waist in which 


the ammunition was placed, a much more convenient contri- 
vance than our cartouche-box ; they had a swoi'd, a cord for 
securing prisoners, and a single pistol, which was stuck in their 
sashes, at their backs. Tiiis corps was on a perfect par with the 
robbers, from whom some of them were chosen ; indeed, the 
common condition of the " indulto" or pardon to robbers, is to 
enlist, and extirpate their former associates — set a thief to catch 
a thief; both the honest and renegade Miguelites hunted " la 
mala gente" as gamekeepers do poachers. The robbers feared 
and respected them ; an escort of ten or twelve Aliguelitts might 
brave any number of banditti, who never or rarely attack where 
resistance is to be anticipated ; and in travelling through suspected 
spots these escorts showed singular skill in taking every precaution, 
by throwing out skirmisliers in front and at the sides. They 
covered in their progress a large space of ground, taking care 
never to keep above two together, nor more distant from each 
other than gun-shot ; rules which all travellers will do well to 
remember, and to enforce on all occasions of suspicion. The 
rare instances in which Englishmen, es^Jecially officers of the 
garrison of Gibraltar, have been robbed, have arisen from a 
neglect of this precaution ; when the whole party ride together 
they may be all caught at once, as in a casting-net. 

It may be remarked that Spanish robbers are very shy in 
attacking armed Elnglish travellers, and particularly if tliey 
appear on their guard. The robbers dislike fighting, and the 
more as they do so at a disadvantage, from having a halter round 
their necks, and they hate danger, from knowing what it is ; they 
have no chivalrous courage, nor any more abstract notions of fair 
play than a Turk or a tiger, who are too uncivilized to throw 
away a chance ; accordingly, they seldom join issue where the 
defendants seem pugnacious, which is likely to be the case with 
Englishmen. They also peculiarly dislike English guns and 
gunpowder, which, in fact, both as arms and anniiunition, are 
infinitely superior to those of Spain. Though three or four En- 
glishmen had nothing to fear, yet where there were ladies it was 
better to be provided with an escort of Miguelites. These men 
have a keen and accurate eye, and were always on the look-out 
for prints of horses and other signs, which, escaping the notice 
of superficial observers, indicated to their practised observations 

202 TRAVELLING ESCORTS. [chap. xvi. 

the presence of danger. They were indefatigable, keeping up 
with a carriage day and night, braving heat and cold, hunger and 
thirst. As they were maintained at the expense of the govern- 
ment, tiiey were not, strictly speaking, entitled to any remune- 
ration from those travellers whom they v.ere directed to escort ; 
it was, however, usual to give to each man a couple of pesetas 
a-day, and a dollar to their leader. Tiie trifling addition of a 
few cigars, a " bota " or two of wine, some rice and dried cod-fish 
for their evening meal, was well bestowed ; exercise sharpened 
their appetites ; and they were always proud to drink to their 
master's long life and purse, and protect both. 

Those, whether natives or foreigners, who could not obtain or 
afford the expense of an escort to themselves, availed themselves 
of tlie oi)i)ortuuity of joining company with some party who had 
one. It is wonderful how soon the fact of an escort being 
granted was known, and how tlie number of travellers increased, 
who were anxious to take advantage of the convoy. As all go 
armed, the united allied forces became more formidable as the 
number increased, and the danger became less. If no one hap- 
pened to be travelling with an escort, tlien travellers waited for 
the passage of troops, for the government's sending money, 
tobacco, or anything else which required protection. If none 
of these opportunities offered, all who were about to travel joined 
company. This habit of forming caravans is very Oriental, and 
has become quite national in Spain, insomuch that it is almost 
impossible to travel alone, as others will join ; weaker and smaller 
parties v/ill unite with all stronger and larger companies whom 
they nieet going the same road, whether the latter like it or not. 
The muleteers are most social and gregarious amongst each other, 
and will often endeavour to derange their employer's line of 
route, in order to fall in witli that of their chance-met comrades. 
The caravan, like a snow-ball, increases in bulk as it rolls on ; 
it is often pretty considerable at the very outset, for, even before 
starting, the muleteers and proprietors of carriages, being well 
known to each other, communicate mutually the number of 
travellers which each has got. 

Travelling in out-of-the-way districts in a " coche de collera^" 
and especially if accompanied with a baggage-waggon, exposes 
the party to be robbed. When the caravan arrives in the small 

cuxp. XVI.] ESCOPETEROS 203 

villages it attracts immediate notice, and if it gets wind that the 
travellers are foreigners, they are supposed to be laden with gold 
and booty. Such an arrival is a rare event ; the news spreads 
like wildfire, and collects all the ^^ mala gefite,'' the bad set of 
idlers and loiterers, who act as spies, and convey intelligence to 
their confederates ; again, the bulk of the equipage, the noise 
and clatter of men and mules, is seen and heard from afar, by 
robbers if there be any, who lurk in hiding-places or eminences, 
and are well provided with telescopes, besides with longer and 
sharper noses, which, as Gil Bias says, smell coin in travellers' 
pockets, while the slow pace and impossibility of flight renders 
such a party an easy prey to well-mounted horsemen. 

This condition of affairs, these dangers real or imaginary, and 
these precautions, existed principally in journeys by cross roads, 
or through provinces rarely visited, and unprovided with public 
carriages ; if, however, such districts were reputed the worst, 
they often had the advantage of being freer from regular bands, 
for where there are few passengers, why should there be robbers, 
who like spiders place their nets w^here the supply of flies is 
sure? — and little do the humbler masses of Spain care either for 
robbers or revolutionists ; they have nothing to lose, and are 
beneath the notice of pickpockets or pseudo-patriots. Their 
raffs are their safeguard, a fine climate clothes them, a fertile 
soil feeds them ; they doze away in the happy want and poverty, 
ever the best protections in Spain, or strum their guitars and sing 
staves in praise of empty purses. The better provided have to 
look out for themselves ; indeed, whenever the law is insufiicient 
men take it into their own hands, either to protect themselves or 
their property, or to administer wild justice, and obtain satisfac- 
tion for wrongs, which in plain Spanish is called revenge. An 
Irish landlord arms his servants and raises walls round his 
" demesne " — an English squire employs watchers and keepers 
to preserve his pheasants — so in suspected localities a Spanish 
hidalgo protects his person by hiring armed peasants ; they are 
called " cscopcteros," people with guns — a definition which is 
applicable to most Spaniards. When out of town this custom of 
going armed, and early acquaintance with the use of the gun, is 
the principal reason why, on the shortest notice, bodies of men, 
whom the Spaniards call soldiers, are got together ; every field 


furnishes the raw material — a man with a musket. Baggage, 
commissariat, pay, rations, uniform, and discipline, which are 
European rather than Oriental, are more likely to be found in most 
other armies than in those of Spain. These things account for the 
facility with which the Spanish nation flies so magnanimously to 
arms, and after bush-fighting and buccaneering expeditions, dis~ 
appears at once after a reverse ; " every man to his own home," 
as of old in the East, and that, with or without proclamation. 
These " escopeteros" occasionally robbers themselves, live either 
by robbery or by the prevention of it ; for there is some honour 
among thieves ; " entre lobos no se come^'' " wolves don't eat 
each other " unless very hard up indeed. These fellows naturally 
endeavour to alarm travellers with over-exaggerated accounts of 
danger, ogres and antres vast, in order that their services may 
be engaged ; their inventions are often believed by swallowers of 
camels, who note down as facts, these tricks upon travellers got 
up for the occasion, by people who are making long noses at them, 
behind their backs ; but these longer lies are among the accidents 
of long journeys, '•'■en luengas vias, luengas mentiras." 

As we are now writing history, it may be added that great 
men like Jose INIaria often granted passports. This true trooper 
of the Deloraine breed was untrammelled with the fetters of 
spelling. Although he could barely write his name, he could 
rubricate * as well as any other Spaniard in command, or Ferdi- 
nand VII. himself. *' His mark " was a protection to all who 
would pay him black mail. It was authenticated with such a 
portentous griffonage as would have done credit to Ali Pacha. 
An intimate friend of ours, a merry gastronomic dignitary of 
Seville, who was going to the baths of Caratraca, to recover 
from over-indulgence in rich ollas and valdepenas, and had no 
wish, like the gouty abbot of Boccaccio, to be put on robber 
regimen, procured a pass from Jose Maria, and took one of his 

* The kings of Spain seldom use any other royal signature, except the 
ancient Gothic riibrica, or mark. This monogram is something like a Ivunic 
knot. Spaniards exercise much ingenuity in these intricate flourishes, which 
they tack on to tlieir names, as a collateral security of authenticity. It is 
said that a rubrica without a name is of more value than a name without a 
rubrica. Sancho Panza tells Don Quixote that his rubrica alone is worth, 
not one, but three hundred jackasses. Those who cannot write rubricate; 
" No saber Jir mar," — not to know how to sign ones name, — is jokingly held 
in Spain to be one of the attributes of grandeeship. 


gang as a travelling escort, who sat on the coach-box, and whom 
he described to us as his " santito" his little guardian angel. 

While on the subject of this spiritual and supernatural pro- 
tection, it may be added that firm faith was placed in the wear- 
ing a relic, a medal of the Virgin, her rosary or scapulary. Thus 
the Duchess of Abrantes this very autumn hung the Virgen del 
Pilar round the neck of her favourite bull-fighter, who escaped 
in consequence. Few Spanish soldiers go into battle without 
such a preservative in their petos, or stuffed waddings, which is 
supposed to turn bullets, and to divert fire, like a lightning con- 
ductor, which probably it does, as so few are ever killed. In 
the more romantic days of Spain no duel or tournament could 
be fought without a declaration from the combatants, that they 
had no relic, no engauo or cheat, about their persons. Our friend 
Jose Maria attributed his constant escapes to an image of the 
Virgin of Grief of Cordova, which never quitted his shaggy breast. 
Indeed, the native districts of the lower classes in Spain may be 
generally known by their religious ornaments. These talismanic 
amulets are selected from the saint or relic most honoured, 
and esteemed most efficacious, in their immediate vicinity. 
Thus the " Santo Rostro," or Holy Countenance of Jaen, is worn 
all over the kingdom of Granada, as the Cross of Caravaca is 
over Murcia ; the rosary of the Virgin is common to all Spain. 
The following miraculous proof of its saving virtues was fre- 
quently painted in the convents : — A robber was shot by a 
traveller and buried ; his comrades, some time afterwards passing 
by, heard his voice, — " this fellow in the cellarage ;" — they opened 
the grave and found him alive and unhurt, for when he was 
killed, he had happened to have a rosary round his neck, and 
Saint Dominick (its inventor) was enabled to intercede with the 
Virgin in his behalf. This reliance on the Virgin is by no 
means confined to Spain, since the Italian banditti always wear a 
small silver heart of the Madonna, and this mixture of ferocity 
and superstition is one of the most terrific features of their 
character. Saint Nicholas, however, the English " Old Nick," 
is in all countries the patron of schoolboys, thieves, or, as 
Shakspere calls them, " Saint Nicholas's clerks." " Keep thy neck 
for the hangman, for I know thou worshippest St. Nicholas as a 
man of falsehood may ;" and like him, Santu Diavolu, Santu 

206 TALISMANIC DEFENCES. [cuap. xvi. 

Diavoluni, Holy Devil, is the appropriate saint of the Sicilian 

San Diraas, the " good thief," is a great saint in Andalucia, 
where his disciples are said to be numerous. A celebrated 
carving by Montanes, in Seville, is called '■El Cristo, del buen 
ladron,' — "the Christ, o/" the good tliief;" thus making the 
Saviour a subordinate person. Spanish robbers have always been 
remarkably good Roman Catholics. In the Rinconete y Corta- 
dillo, the Lurker and Cutpurse of Cei-vantes, whose Monipodio 
must have furnished Fagin to Boz, a box is placed before the 
Virgin, to which each robber contributes, and one remarks that 
he " robs for the service of God, and for all honest fellows." 
Their mountain confessors of the Friar Tuck order, animated 
by a pious love for dollars when expended in expiatory masses, 
consider the payment to them of good doubloons such a laudable 
restitution, sucli a sincere repentance, as to entitle the contrite 
culprit to ample absolution, plenary indulgence, and full benefit 
of clergy. Notwithstanding this, these ungrateful " good thieves " 
have been known to rob their spiritual pastors and masters, when 
they catch them on the high road. 

To return to the saving merit of these talismans. We our- 
selves suspended to our sheepskin jacket one of the silver medals 
of Santiago, which are sold to pilgrims at Compostella, and ar- 
rived back again to Seville from the long excursion, safe and 
sound and unpillaged except by venteros and our faithful squire — 
an auspicious event, which was entirely attributed by the afore- 
said dignitary to the intervention vouchsafed by the patron of the 
Spains to all who wore his order, which thus protects the bearer 
as a badge does a Thames waterman from a press-gang. 

An account of the judicial death of one of the gang of Jose 
Maria, winch we witnessed, will be an appropriate conclusion to 
these remarks, and an act of justice towards our fair readers for 
this detail of breaches of the peace, and the bad company into 
which they have been introduced. Jose de Roxas, commonly 
called (for they generally have some nickname) El Veneno, 
" Poison," from his viper-like qualities, was surprised by some 
troops : he made a desperate resistance, and when brought to the 
ground by a ball in his leg, killed the soldier who rushed for- 
ward to secure him. He proposed when in prison to deliver up 


his comrades if his own life were guaranteed to him. The offer 
was accepted, and he was sent out with a sufficient force ; and 
such was tlie terror of his name, that they surrendered them- 
selves, not however to him, and were imrdoned. Veneno was 
then trietl for his previous offences, found guilty, and condemned : 
he pleaded that he had indirectly accomplished the object for 
which his life was promised him, but in vain ; for such trials in 
Spain are a mere form, to give an air of legality to a predeter- 
mined sentence : — the authorities adhered to the killing letter of 
their agreement, and 

" Kept the word of promise to the ear, 
But broke it to the hope." 

As Veneno Avas without friends or money, wherewith Gines 
Passamonte anointed the palm of justice and got fi-ee, the sen- 
tence was of course ordered to be carried into effect. The courts 
of law and the prisons of Seville are situated near the Pla^a San 
Francisco, which has always been the site of public executions. 
On the day previous nothing indicates the scene which will take 
place on the following morning; everytliing connected with this 
ceremony of death is viewed with horror by Spaniards, not from 
that abstract abhorrence of shedding blood which among other 
nations induces the lower orders to detest the completer of 
judicial sentences, as the smaller feathered tribes do the larger 
birds of prey, but from ancient Oriental prejudices of pollution, 
and because all actually employed in the operation are accounted 
infamous, and lose their caste, and purity of blood. Even the 
gloomy scaffolding is erected in the night by unseen, unknown 
hands, and rises from the earth like a fungus work of darkness, 
to make the day hideous and shock the awakening eye of Seville. 
When the criminal is of noble blood the platform, which in ordi- 
nary cases is composed of mere carpenter's work, is covered with 
black baize. The operation of hanging, among so unmechanical 
a people, with no improved patent invisible drop, used to be con- 
ducted in a cruel and clumsy manner. The wretched culprits 
were dragged up the steps of the ladder by the executioner, who 
then mounted on their shoulders and threw himself off with his 
victims, and, wliile both swung backwards and forwards in the 
air, was busied, with spider-like fingers, in fumbling about the 

208 EXECUTION OF A ROBBER. [chap, xvi, 

neck of the sufferers, until being satisfied that life was extinct 
lie let himself down to the ground by the bodies. Execution by 
hanging was, however, graciously abolished by Ferdinand VII., 
the beloved ; this father of his people determined that the 
future death for civil offences should be strangulation, — a mode oi 
removing to a better world those of his children who deserved it, 
which is certainly more in accordance with the Oriental bow- 

Veneno was placed, as is usual, the day before his execution, 
" en capilla" in a chapel or cell set apart for the condemned, 
where the last comforts of religion are administered. This was 
a small room in the prison, and tlie most melancholy in that 
dwelling of woe, for such indeed, as Cervantes from sad expe- 
rience knew, and described a Spanish prison to be, it still is. An 
iron grating formed the partition of the corridor, which led to the 
chamber. This passage was crowded with members of a charitable 
brotherhood, who were collecting alms from the visitors, to be 
expended in masses for the eternal repose of the soul of the 
criminal. There were groups of officers, and of portly Franciscan 
friars smoking their cigars and looking carefully from time to 
time into the amount of the contributions, which were to benefit 
their bodies, quite as much as the soul of the condemned. The 
levity of those assembled without formed, meantime, a heartless 
contrast with the gloom and horror of the melancholy interior. 
A small door opened into the cell, over which might well be 
inscribed the awful words of Dante — 

" Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate !" 

At the head of this room was placed a table, with a crucifix, 
an image of the Virgin, and two wax tapers, near which stood a 
silent sentinel with a drawn sword ; another soldier was stationed 
at the door, with a fixed bayonet. In a corner of this darkened 
apartment was the pallet of Veneno ; he was lying curled up 
like a snake, with a striped coverlet (the Spanish mantci) drawn 
closely over his mouth, leaving visible only a head of matted 
locks, a glistening dark eye, rolling restlessly out of the white 
socket. On being approached he sprung up and seated himself 
on a stool : he was almost naked ; a chaplet of beads imng across 
his exposed breast, and contrasted with the iron chains around his 


limbs: — Superstition had riveted her fetters at his birth, and 
the Law her manacles at his death. The expression of his face, 
though low and vulgar, was one which once seen is not easily 
forgotten, — a slouching look of more than ordinary guilt : his 
sallow complexion appeared more cadaverous in the uncertain 
light, and was heightened by a black, unshorn beard, growing 
vigorously on a half-dead countenance. He appeared to be 
reconciled to his fate, and repeated a few sentences, the teach- 
ing of the monks, as by rote : his situation was probably more 
painful to the spectator than to himself — an indifference to death, 
arising rather from an ignorance of its dreadful import, than 
from high moral courage : he was the Bernardine of Sliakspere, 
*' a man that apprehends death no more dreadfully than a drunken 
sleep, careless, reckless, and fearless of what 's past, present, and 
to come, insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal." 

Next morning the triple tiers of the old balconies, roofs, and 
whole area of the Moorish and most picturesque square were 
crowded by the lower orders ; the men wrapped up in their 
cloaks— (it was a December morning) — the women in their man- 
tillas, many with young children in their arms, brought in the 
beffinningr of life to witness its conclusion. The better classes 
not only absent themselves from these executions, but avoid any 
allusion to the subject as derogatory to European civilization ; 
the humbler ranks, who hold the conventions of society very 
cheap, give loose to their morbid curiosity to behold scenes of 
terror, which operates powerfully on the women, who seem im- 
pelled irresistibly to witness sights the most repugnant to their 
nature, and to behold sufferings which they would most dread 
to undergo ; they, like children, are the great lovers of the hor- 
rible, Avhether in a tale or in dreadful reality ; to the men it was 
as a tragedy, where the last scene is death — death which rivets 
the attention of all, who sooner or later must enact the same sad 
part.* They desire to see how the criminal will conduct him- 
self; they sympathise with him if he displays coolness and 
courage, and despise him on the least symptom of unmanliness. 
An open square was then formed about the scaffold by lines of 
soldiers drawn up, into which the officers and clergy were ad- 

* " Chacun fuit h, le voir naitre, chacun court a le voir mourir!"' — il/on- 

210 EXECUTION OF A ROBEEK. [chap. xvr. 

mitted. As the fatal hour drew nigh, the increasing impatience 
of the multitude began to vent itself in complaints of how slowly 
tlie time passed — tliat time of no value to them, but of such 
precious import to him, whose very moments were numbered. 

When at length the cathedral clock tolled out the fatal hour, 
a universal stir of tiptoe expectation took place, a pushing for- 
ward to get the best situations. Still ten minutes had to elapse, 
for the clock of the tribunal is purposely set so much later than 
that of the cathedral, in order to aflbrd the utmost possible 
chance of a reprieve. When that clock too had rung out its 
knell, all eyes were turned to the prison-door, from whence the 
miserable man came forth, attended by some Franciscans. He 
had chosen that order to assist at his dying moments, a privilege 
always left to the criminal. He was clad in a coarse yellow 
baize gown, the colour which denotes the crime of murder, and is 
appropriated always to Judas Iscariot in Spanish paintings. He 
walked slowly on his last journey, half supported by those around 
him, and stopping often, ostensibly to kiss the crucifix held 
before him by a friar, but rather to prolong existence — sv/eet 
life ! — even yet a moment. When he arrived reluctantly at the 
scaffold, he knelt down on the steps, the threshold of death ; — 
the reverend attendants covered him over witli tlieir blue robes 
— his dying confession was listened to unseen. He then mounted 
the platform attended by a single friar ; addressed the crowd in 
broken sentences, w ith a gasping breath — told them that he died 
repentant, that he was justly punished, and tliat he forgave his 
executioner. " Mi delito me mata, y no ese hombre,^^ — my 
offence puts me to death, and not this felloiv ; as "Ese hombre" 
is a contemptuous expression, and implies insult, the ruling 
feeling of the Spaniard was displayed in death against the de- 
graded functionary. The criminal then exclaimed, " Viva la fe! 
viva la relic/ion ! viva el rey ! viva el nomhre de Jesus .'" All of 
which met no echo from those who heard him. His dying cry 
was " Viva la Virgen SantisimaV^ at these words the devotion 
to the goddess of Spain burst forth in one general acclamation, 
" Viva la Santisima /" So strong is tlieir feelinor towards the 
Virgin, and so lukewarm their comparative indifference towards 
their king, their faith, and their Saviour! Meanwhile the exe- 
cutioner, a young man dressed in black, was busied in tlie pre- 


parations for death. The fatal instrument is simple : the culprit 
is placed on a rude seat ; his back leans against a strong upright 
post, to which an iron collar is attached, enclosing liis neck, and 
so contrived as to be drawn home to the post by turning a pow- 
erful scre\v. The executioner bound so tightly the naked legs 
and arms of Veneno, that they swelled and became black — a 
precaution not unwise, as the father of this functionary liad been 
killed in the act of executing a struggling criminal. The priest 
who attended Veneno was a bloated, corpulent man, more occu- 
pied in shading the sun from his own face, than in his ghostly 
office; the robber sat with a writhing look of agony, grinding 
his clenched teeth. When all was ready, the executioner took 
the lever of the screw in both hands, gathered himself up for a 
strong muscular effort, and, at the moment of a preconcerted 
signal, drew the iron collar tight, while an attendant flung a 
black handkerchief over the face— a convulsive pressure of the 
hands and a heaving of the chest were the only visible signs of 
the passing of the robber's spirit. After a pause of a few mo- 
ments, the executioner cautiously peeped under the handkerchief, 
and after having given another turn to the screw, lifted it off, 
folded it up, carefully put it into his pocket, and then proceeded 

to light a cigar 

" with that air of satisfaction 

Which good men wear who 've done a virtuous action." 


The face of the dead man was slightly convulsed, the mouth 
open, the eye-balls turned into their sockets from the wrench. 
A black bier, Mith two lanterns fixed on staves, and a crucifix, 
was now set down before the scaffold — also a small table and a 
dish, into which alms were again collected, to be paid to the 
priests who sang masses for his soul. The mob having discussed 
his crimes, abused the authorities and judges, and criticised the 
manner of the new executioner (it was liis maiden effort), began 
slowly to disperse, to the great content of the neighbouring sil- 
versmiths, who ventured to open their closed shutters, having 
hitherto placed more confidence in bolts and bars, than in the 
moral example presented to the spectators. The body remained 
on the scaffold till the afternoon ; it was then thrown into a 
scavenger's cart, and led by the "pre^/OHe/o," the comu;on crier, 

212 EXECUTION OF A ROBBER. [chap. xvi. 

beyond the jurisdiction of the city, to a square platform called 
" La mesa del Rey" the king's table, where the bodies of the 
executed are quartered and cut up — " a pretty dish to set before 
a king." Here the carcase was hewed and hacked into pieces by 
the bungling executioner and his attendants, with that inimitable 
defiance of anatomy for which they and Spanish surgeons are 
equally renowned — 

" Le gambe di lui gettaron in una fossa ; 
II Diavol ebbe I'alma, i lupi I'ossa."' 

" The legs of the robber were thrown in a hole, 
The wolves got his bones, the devil his soul." 



The Spanish Doctor : his Social Position — Medical Abuses — Hospitals- 
Medical Education — Lunatic Asylums — Foundling Hospital of Seville — 
Medical Pretensions — Dissection — Family Physician — Consultations — 
Medical Costume — Prescriptions — Druggists — Snake Broth — Salve for 

The transition from the Spanish centero to the ladron was easy, 
nor is that from the robbers to the doctors of Spain difficult ; 
the former at least offer a polite alternative, they demand " your 
money or your life," while the latter in most cases take both ; 
yet these able practitioners, from being less picturesque in cos- 
tume, and more undi'amatic in operations, do not enjoy so brilliant 
a European reputation as the bandits. Again, while our critical 
monitors cry thieves on every road of the Peninsula, no friendly 
warning is given against the Sangrado, whose aspect is more 
deadly than the couji de soleil of a Castilian sun : woe waits the 
wayfarer who falls into his hands ; the patient cannot be too 
quick in ordering the measure to be taken of iiis coffin, or, as 
Spaniards say, of his tombstone, which last article is shadowed out 
by the first feeling of the invalid's pulse — tomar el puJso, es pro- 
gnosticar al enfermo la luza. It was probably from a knowledge 
of this contingent remainder, that Monsieur Orfila went, or was 
sent, from Paris to Madrid, about the time of the Montpensier 
marriage with the Infanta, in the hopes of rescuing her elder 
and reigning sister, the " innocent " Isabel, from the fatal 
native lancets — a well-meant interference of the foreigner, by the 
way, which the Spanish faculty resented and rejected to a man ., 
nor were the guarded suggestions of this eminent toxicologiste, or 
investigator of poisons, with regard to the administration of 
medicines and dispensaries, received so thankfully as tliey de- 

However magnificently endowed in former times were the 
hospitals and ahnshouses of Spain, the provision now made for 

214 THE SPANISH DOCTOR: [chap. xvir. 

poor and ailing- humanity is very inadequate. The revenues 
were first embezzled by the managers, and since have almost 
been swept away. Trustees for pious and charitable uses are 
defenceless against armetl avarice and appropriation in office ; 
and being corporate bodies, they want the sacredne&s of private 
interests, which every one is anxious to defend. Plence the 
greedy minion Godoy began the spoliation, by seizing the funds, 
and giving in lieu government securities, which of course 
turned out to be worthless. Then ensued the French invasion, 
and the confiscation of military despots. Civil war has done the 
rest ; and now that the convents are suppr(!ssed, the deficiencv is 
more evident, for in tlie remoter country districts tlie monks be- 
stowed relief to the poor, and provided medicines for the sick. 
With few exceptions, the hospitals, the Casus de 3Iisericordia, 
or houses for the destitute, are far from being well conducted in 
Spain, while those destined for lunatics, and for exposed children, 
notwithstanding recent improvements, do little credit to science 
and humanity. 

The base, brutal, and bloody Sangrados of Spain have long 
been the butts of foreign and domestic novelists, who spoke 
many a true word in tlieir jests. The common expression of the 
people in regard to the busy mortality of their patients, is, 
that tiiey die like bugs, mueren coma chinches. This reckless- 
ness of life, this inattention to human suffering-, and backward- 
ness in curative science, is very Oriental ; for, however science 
may have set westward from tlie East, the arts of medicine and 
surgery have not. There, as in Spain, they have long been 
subordinate, and the professors held to be of a low caste~a fatal 
bar in the Peninsula, where tlie point of personal honour is so 
nice, and men will die rather than submit to conventional degra- 
dations. The surgeon of the Spanish Moors was frequently 
a despised and detested Jew, which would create a traditionary 
loathing of the calling. The physician was of somewhat a 
hig-lier caste ; but he, like the botanist and chemist, was rather 
to be met with among the Infidels tlian the Christians. Thus 
Sancho the Fat was obliged to go in person to Cordova in search 
of good advice. And still in Spain, as in the East, all whose 
profession is to put living creatures to death, are socially almost 
excommunicated ; the butcher, bullfigliter, and public executioner 


for example. Here the soldier who sabres, takes tlie highest rank, 
and he who cures, the lowest ; here the M.D.'s, w horn the 
infallible Pope consults and the autocrat king obeys, are ad- 
mitted only into the sick rooms of good company, which, when 
in rude health, shuts on them the door of their saloons ; but the 
excluded take their revenge on those who morally cut them, and 
all Spaniards are very dangerous with the knife, and more parti- 
cularly if surgeons. Madrid is indeed thecourt of death, and the 
necrology of the Escorial furnishes the surest evidence of this fact 
in tlie premature decease of royalty, which may be expected to have 
the best advice and aid, both medical and theologico-tlierapeutical, 
that the capital can afford ; but brief is the royal span, especially 
in the case of females and infantes, and the result is undeniable 
in these statistics of death ; the cause lies between the climate 
and the doctor, who, as they aid the other, may fairly be left to 
settle the question of relative excellence between each other. 

The Spanish medical man is shunned, not only from ancient 
prejudices, and because he is dangerous, like a rattle-snake, but 
from jealousies that churchmen entertain against a rival profession, 
which, if well received, might come in for some share of the 
legacies and power-conferring secrets, Avhich are obtained easily 
at deathbeds, when mind and body are deprived of strength. 
Again, a Spanish surgeon and a Spanish confessor take diiferent 
views of a patient ; one only wishes, or ought to wish, to preserve 
him in this world, the other in the next, — neither probably in 
their hearts having much opinion of the remedies adopted by 
each other : the spiritual practice changes 'not, for novelty iteelf, 
a heresy in religion, is not favourably beheld in anything else. 
Thus the universities, governed by ecclesiastics, persuaded the 
poor bigot Philip III. to pass a law prohibiting the study of any 
new system of medicine, and requiring Galen, Hippocrates, and 
Avicenna. Dons and men for whom the sun still continued to 
stand still, scouted the exact sciences and experimental philo- 
sophy as dangerous innovations, which, they said, made every 
medical man a Tiberius, who, because he was fond of mathe- 
matics where strict demonstration is necessary, was rather negli- 
gent in his religious respect for the gods and goddesses of the 
Pantheon ; and so, in 1830, they scared the timid Perdinand 
VII. (whose resemblance to Tiberius had nothing to do with 


216 THE SPANISH DOCTOR. [chap. xvii. 

Euclid) by telling him that the schools of medicine created 
materialists, heretics, citizen-kings, chartists, barricadoers, and re- 
volutionists. Thereupon the beloved monarch shut up the lecture 
rooms forthwith, opening, it is true, by way of compensation, a 
tauromachian university ; — men indeed might be mangled, but 
bulls were to be mercifully put out of their misery, secundum 
artem, and with the honours of science. 

This low social position is very classical : the physicians of 
Rome, chiefly liberti, freed slaves, were only made citizens by 
Csesar, who wished to conciliale these ministers of the fatal 
sisters when the capital was wanting in population after extreme 
emigrations — an act of favour which may cut two ways ; thus 
Adria!) VI. (tutor to the Spanish Charles V.) approved of there 
being 500 medical practitioners in the Eternal City, because other- 
wise " the multitude of living beings would eat each other up." 
However, when his turn came to be diminished, the grateful 
Ijeople serenaded his surgeon, as the " deliverer of the country." 
In our days, there M'as only one medical man admitted by the 
Se^■ille sangre su, tlie best or noblest set (whose blood is held to 
be blue, of which more anon) when in rude and antiphlebotomical 
health ; and eveiy stranger was informed apologetically by the 
exclusive Amphitryons that the M.D. was de casa conocida, or born 
of a good family ; thus his social introduction Was owing to per- 
sonal, not professional qualifications. And while adventurers of 
every kind are betitled, the most prodigal dispenser of Spanish 
honours never dreams of making his doctor even a titidado, a 
rank somewhat higher than a pair de France, and lower than a 
medical baronetage in England. This aristocratical ban has con- 
fined doctors much to each other's society, which, as they never 
take each other's physic, is neither unpleasant nor dangerous. 
At Seville the medical tertulia, club or meeting, was appro- 
priately held at the apothecary's shop of Campelos, and a sable 
juyita or consultation it was, of birds of bad omen, who croaked 
over the general health with which the city was afflicted, pray- 
ing, like Sangrado in 'Gil Bias,' that by the blessing of Provi- 
dence much sickness might speeflily ensue. The crowded or de- 
serted state of this rookery was the surest evidence of the hygeian 
rondition of tlie fair capital of Baetica, and one w hich, when we 
lived there, we have often anxiously- inspected ; for, whatever be 


the pleasantries of those in insolent health, when sickness brings 
in the doctor, all joking is at an end ; then he is made much of 
even in Spain, from a choice of evils, and for fear of the con- 
fessor and undertaker. 

The poor in no countries have much predilection for the 
hospital ; and in Spain, in addition to pride, which everywhere 
keeps many silly sick out of admirably-conducted asylums, here 
a well-grounded fear deters the patient, who prefers to die a 
natural death. Again, from their being poor, the necessity of 
their living at all, is less evident to the managers than to the 
sufferers ; as, say the Malthusians, there is no place vacant at 
Nature's table d'hote to those who cannot pay, so bed and board 
are not pressed on Spanish applicants, by the hospital committee ; 
an admitted patient's death saves trouble and expense, neither of 
which are popular in a land where cash is scarce, and a love for 
hard work not prevalent, where a sound man is worth little, and 
a sick one still less ; nor is every doctor always popular for 
working cures, as could be exemplified in sundry cases of. Spanish 
wives and heirs in general ; therefore in the hospitals of the 
Peninsula, if only half die, it is thought great luck : the dead, 
moreover, tell no tales, and the living sing praises for their 
miraculous escape. El medico lleva la plata, pero Dios es que 
Sana ! — God works the cure, the doctor sacks the fee ! Mean- 
while the sextons are busy and merry, as those in Hamlet, and 
as indeed all gravediggers are, when they have a job on hand 
that will be paid for ; deeply do they dig into the silent earth, 
that bourn from whence no travellers return to blab. They sing 
and jest, while dust is heaped on dust, and the corpus delicti 
covered, and with it the blunders of the medico ; thus all parties, 
the deceased excepted, are well satisfied ; the man with the lancet 
io content that disagreeable evidence should be put out of sight, 
the fellow-labourer with the spade is thankful that constant means 
of living should be afforded to him ; and when the funeral is over, 
both carry out the proverbial practice of Peninsular survivors : 
Los muertos en la huesa, y los vivos a la mesa, the dead in their 
grave, the quick to their diimer. 

But at no period were Spaniards careful even of their own 
lives, and nuich less of those of others, being a people of untender 
bowels. Familiarity with pain blunts much of the finer feelings of 

218 MEDICAL ABUSES. [chap. xvii. 

persons employed even in our hospitals, for those who live by the 
dead have only an undertaker's sympathy for the living, and are 
as dull to tlie poetry of innocent health, as Mr. Giblet is to a 
sportive house-fed lamb. Matters are not improved in Spain, 
where the wounds, blood, and slaughterings of the pastime bull- 
fight, the mueran or deatli mob-cries, and pasele por las armas, 
the shoot him on the spot, the Draco and Durango decrees, and 
practices of all in power, educate all sexes to indifference to blood ; 
thus the fatal knife-stab or surgeon's cut are viewed as cosas de 
Espdaa and things of course. The philosophy of the general 
indifference to life in Spain, which almost amounts to Oriental 
fatalism, in the number of executions and general resignation to 
blo(^dshed, arises partly from life among the many being at best 
but a struggle for existence ; thus in setting it in the cast, the 
player only stakes coppers, and when one is removed, there is 
somewhat less difficulty for survivors ; hence every one is for him- 
self and for to-day ; apres moi le deluge, el ultimo mono se ahoga, 
the last monkey is drowned, or as we say, the devil takes the 

The neglect of well-supported, well-regulated hospitals, has 
recoiled on the Spaniards. The rising profession are deprived 
of the advantages of walking them, and thus beholding every 
nice difficulty solved by experienced masters. Recently some 
efforts have been made in large towns, especially on the coasts, 
to introduce reforms and foreign ameliorations ; but official job- 
bing and ignorant routine are still among the diseases that are 
?iOf cured in Spain. In 1811, when the English army was at 
Cadiz, a physician, named Villarino, urged by some of our in- 
dignant surgeons, brought the disgraceful condition of Spanish 
hospitals before tlie Cortes. A commission was appointed, and 
their sad report, still extant, details how the funds, food, wine, 
&c., destined for tiie patients were consumed by the managers 
and their subalterns. The results were such as might be ex- 
pected ; the authorities held together, and persecuted Villarino 
as a revoliicioiuirio, or reformer, and succeeded in disgracing 
him. The superintendent of this establishment was the notorious 
Lozano de Torres, wlio starved the English army after Talavera, 
and was " a thief and a liar," in the words of the Duke. The 
Regency, after this very exposure of his hospital, promoted him 


to the civil government of Old Castile ; and Ferdinand VII., in 
1817, made him Minister of Justice. 

As buildings, the hospitals are generally very large ; but the space 
is as thinly tenanted as the unpeopled wastes of Spain. In Eng- 
land wards are wanting for patients — in Spain, patients for wards. 
The names of some of the greatest hospitals are happily cliosen ; 
that of Seville, for instance, is called La Scmgre, the blood, or 
LasCinco Llagas, the five bleeding wounds of our Saviour, wliich 
are sculptured over the portal like bunches of grapes. Blood is 
an ominous name for this house and home of Sangrado, where 
the lancet, like the Spanisli knife, gives no quarter. In instru- 
ments of life and death, this establishment resembled a Spanish 
arsenal, being wanting in everything at tlie critical moment ; its 
dispensary, as in the shop of Shakspere's apothecary, presented 
a beggarly account of empty pill-boxes, while as to a visiting 
Brodie, the part of that Hamlet was left out. The grand hospital 
at Madrid is culled el general, the General, and the medical as- 
sistance is akin to the military co-operation of such Spanish 
generals as Lapeua and Venegas, who in the moment of need 
left Graham at Barrosa, and the Duke at Talavera, without a 
shadow of aid. Tiiere is nothing new in this, if the old proverb 
tells truth, socorros de Espana^ o tarde o nunca ; Spanisli suc- 
cours arrive late or never. In cases of battle, war, and sudden 
death as in peace, the professional men, military or medical, are 
apt to assist in the meaning of the French word assister, which 
signifies to be present without taking any part in what is going 
on. And this applies, where knocks on the head are concerned, 
not to the medical men only, but to the universal Spanish nation ; 
when any one is stabbed in the streets, he will infallibly bleed 
to death, unless the authorities arrive in time to pick him up, 
and to bind up his wounds : every one else — Englishmen excepted, 
we describe things witnessed — passes on the other side ; not from 
any fear at the sight of blood, nor abhorrence of murder, but 
from the dread which every Spaniard feels at the very idea of 
getting entangled in the meshes of La Justicia, whose ministers 
lay hold of all who interfere or are near the body as principals 
or witnesses, and Spanish justice, if once it gets a man into its 
fangs, never lets him go until drained of his last farthing. 

The schools and hospitals, especially in the inland remote cities. 

220 COLLEGE OF SAN CARLOS, [chap. xyii. 

are very deficient in all improved mechanical appliances and modern 
discoveries, and the few wliich are to be met with are mostly of 
French and second-rate manufacture. It is much the same with their 
medical treatises and technical works ; all is a copy, and a bad 
one ; it has been found to be much easier to translate and borrow, 
than to invent ; therefore, as in modern art and literature, there 
is little originality in Spanish medicine. It is chiefly a veneering 
of other men's ideas, or an adaptation of ancient and Moorish 
science. Most of their terms of medicinal art, as well as of drugs, 
jalea, elixir, jarave, rob, sorbete, julepe, &c., are purely Arabic, 
and indicate the sources from whence the knowledge was obtained, 
for tliere is no surer historical test tlian lanii^uacje of the origfin 
from whence the knowledge of the science was derived with its 
phraseology ; and whenever Spaniards depart from the daring ways 
of their ancestors, it is to adopt a timid French system. The few 
additions to their medical libraries are translations from their 
neighbours, just as the scanty materia medica in their apothe- 
caries' shops is rendered more dangerous and ineffective by quack 
nostrums from Paris. It is a serious misfortune to sanative 
science in the Peninsula, that all that is known of the works of 
thoughtful, careful Germany, of practical, decided England, is 
passed through the unfair, inaccurate alembic of French transla- 
tion ; thus the original becomes doubly deteriorated, and the 
sacred cosmopolitan cause of truth and fact is too often sacri- 
ficed to the Gallic mania of suppressing both, for the honour of 
their own country. Can it be wondered, therefore, that the ac- 
quaintance of the Spanish faculty with modern works, inventions, 
and operations is very limited, or that their text-books and autho- 
rities should too often be still Galen, Celsus, Hippocrates, and 
Boerhaave ? The names of Hunter, Harvey, and Astley Cooper, 
are scarcely more known among tlieir M.D.'s than the last dis- 
coveries of Herschel ; the light of such distant planets has not 
had time to arrive. 

To this day the Colegio de Sa7i Carlos, or the College of 
Surgeons at Madrid, relies much on teaching the obstetric art 
by means of wax preparations ; but learning a trade on paper is 
not confined in Sj^ain to medical students ; the great naval 
school at Seville is dedicated to San Telmo, who, uniting in 
himself the attributes of the anci'^nt Castor and Pollux, appears 


in storms at the mast-head in the form of lights to rescue seamen. 
Hence, whenever it comes on to blow, the pious crews of Spanish 
crafts fall on their knees, and depend on this marine Hercules, 
instead of taking in sail, and putting the helm up. Our tars, 
who love the sea propter se, for better for worse, having no San 
Telmo to help them in foul weather (although the somewhat 
irreverent gunner of the Victory did call him of Trafalgar" 
Saint Nelson), go to work and perform the miracle themselves 
— aide toi, et le del t^aidera. In our time, the middies in this 
college were taught navigation in a room, from a small model of 
a three-decker placed on a large table ; and thus at least they were 
not exposed to sea-sickness. The Infant Antonio, Lord High 
Admiral of Spain, was walking in the Retiro gardens near the 
pond, when it was proposed to cross in a boat ; he declined, 
saying, " Since I sailed from Naples to Spain I have never ven- 
tured on water." But, in this and some other matters, things 
are managed differently on the Thames and the Baetis. Thus, 
near Greenwich Hospital, a floating frigate, large as life, is the 
school of young chips of old blocks, who every day behold in the 
veterans of Cape St. Vincent and Trafalgar living examples of 
having " done their duty." The evidence of former victories 
thus becomes a guarantee for the realization of their young hopes, 
and the future is assured by the past. 

Next to the barracks, prisons, arsenals, and fortresses of Spain, 
the establishments . for suffering mortality are the least worth 
seeing, and are the most to be avoided by wise travellers, who can 
indulge in much better specimens at liome. This assertion will 
be better understood by a sketch or two taken on the spot a few 
years ago. The so-called asylums for lunatics are termed in 
Spanish hospitales de locos, a word derived from the Arabic, 
locao, mad ; they, like the cognate Morostans r^wpoc) of Cairo, 
were generally so mismanaged, tliat the directors appeared to be 
only desirous of obtaining admission themselves. Insanity seemed 
to derange both the intellects of the patients and to harden the 
bowels of their attendants, wliile the usual misappropriation of 
the scanty funds produced a truly reckless, makeshift, wretched 
result. There was no attempt at classification, which indeed 
is no thing of Spain. The inmates were crowded together, — 
the monomaniac, the insane, the raving mad, — in one con- 

222 LUNATIC ASYLUMS. l-hap. xvn. 

fusion of dirt and misery, where they howled at each other, 
chained like wild beasts, and were treated even worse than 
criminals, for the passions of the most outrajj^eous were infu- 
riated by the savage lash. There was not even a curtain to 
conceal the sad necessities of these human beings, then reduced 
to animals : everything was public even unto death, whose last 
groan was mingled with the frantic laugh of the surviving 
spectators. In some rare cases the bodies of those whose minds 
are a void, were confined in solitary cells, with no other com- 
panions save affliction. Of these, many, when first sent there 
by friends and relations to be put out of the way, were not mad, 
soon indeed to become so, as solitude, sorrow, and the iron entered 
their brain. These establishments, which the natives ought to 
hide in shame, were usually among tlie first lions which they forced 
on the stranger, and especially on the Englishman, since, holding 
our worthy countrymen to be all locos, they naturally imagined 
that they would be quite at home among the inmates. 

They, in common with many others on the Continent, entertain 
a notion that all Britons bold have a bee in their bonnet ; they 
think so on many, and perhaps not always unreasonable, grounds. 
They see them preferring English ways, sayings, and doings, to 
their own, wliich of itself appears to a Spaniard, as to a French- 
man, to be downright insanity. Then our countrymen tell the 
truth in bulletins, use towels, and remove superfluous hairs 
daily. And letting alone other minor exhibitions of eccentricity, 
are not the natives of England, Scotland, and Ireland guilty of 
three actions, any one of wliich would qualify for Bedlam if the 
Lord Ciiancellor were to issue a writ de lunatico inquirendo ? — 
have they not bled for Spain, in purse and person, on the battle- 
field, on the railroad, in the Stock Exchange? — 

" Oh tribus Antyceris caput insanabile !" 

To return, however, to Spanish madmen and their hospitals, 
the siuht was a sad one, and alike disgraceful to the sane, and 
degrading to the insane native. The wild maniacs implored a 
" loan " from the foreigner, for from their own countrymen they 
had received a stone. A sort of madness is indeed seldom want- 
ing to the frantic energy and intense eagerness of all Spanish 
mendicants ; and here, albeit the reasoning faculties were gone, 


the national propensity to beg and borrow survived the wreck of 
intellect, and in fact it was and is the indestructible " common 
sense " of the country. 

There was generally some particular patient whose aggravated 
misery made him or her the especial object of cruel curiosity. 
Thus, at Toledo, in 1843, the keepers (fit wild beast term) 
always conducted strangers to the cage or den of the wife of a 
celebrated Captain-General and first-rate fusilier of Catalonia, 
an officer superior in power to our Lord-Liexxtenant of Ireland. 
She was permitted to wallow in naked filth, and be made a public 
show. The Moors, at least, do not confine tlieir harmless female 
maniacs, who wander naked through the streets, while the men 
are honoured as saints, whose minds are supposed to be wander- 
ing in heaven. The old Iberian doctors, accoiding to Pliny, 
professed to cure madness with the herb rettonicaj and hydrophobia 
with decoction of the cynorrlwdon or dog-rose-water, as being 
doubly unpalateable to the rabid canine species. The modern 
Spaniards seemed only to desire, by ignorance and ill-usage, to 
darken any lucid interval into one raving uniformity. 

The foundling hospitals were, when we last examined them, 
scarcely better managed than the lunatic asylums ; they are 
called casus de espositos, houses of the exposed — or la Ciaia., the 
cradle, as if they were the cradle, not the cofifin, of miserable in- 
fants. Most large cities in Spain have one of these receptacles ; 
the principal being in the Levitical towns, and the natural fruit 
of a rich celibate clergy, botli regular and secular. The Cuna 
in our time niigiit have been defined as a place where innocents 
were massacred, and natural children deserted by their unnatural 
parents were provided for by being starved. These hospitals 
were first founded at Milan in 787, by a priest named Datheus. 
That of Seville, which we will describe, was establislied by the 
clergy of tlie cathedral, and was managed by twelve directors, 
six lay and six clerical ; few, however, attended or contributed save 
in subjects. The hospital is situate in the Calle de la Cuna ; 
near an aperture left for charitable donations, is a marble 
tablet witli this verse from the Psalms, inscribed in Latin, 
*•' Wlien my father and mother forsake me, then tJie Lord will 
take me in." 

A wicket door is pierced in the wall, which opens on being 


tapped to admit the sinless children of sin ; and a nurse sits 
up at niglij; to receive those exposed by parents who hide their 
guilt in darkness. 

" Toi que I'amour fit par un crime, 

Et que I'amour de'fait par un crime a son tour, 
Funestc ouvrage de ramour, 
De Tamour funeste victime."' 

Some of the babies are already dying, and are put in here in 
order to avoid the expense of a funeral ; others are almost naked, 
while a few are well supplied with linen and necessaries. These 
latter are the offspring of the better classes, by whom a tempo- 
rary concealment is desired. With such the most affecting 
letters are left, praying the nurses to take more than usual care 
of a child which will surely be one day reclaimed, and a mark 
or ornament is usually fastened to the infant, in order that it 
may be identified hereafter, if called for, and such were the precise 
customs in antiquity. Every particular regarding every exposed 
babe is registered in a book, which is a sad record of human 
crime and remorse. 

Those children which are afterwards reclaimed, pay about six- 
pence for every day during which the hospital has maintained 
them ; but little attention is paid to the appeals for particular 
care, or to the promise of redemi)tion, for Spaniards seldom trust 
each other. Unless some name is sent with it, the child is 
baptized with one given by the matron, and it usually is that of 
the saint of the day of its admission. The number was very great, 
and increased with increasing poverty, while the funds destined 
to support the charges decreased from the same cause. There is 
a certain and great influx nine months after the Holy week and 
Christmas, when the whole city, male and female, pass the night 
in kneeling to relics and images, &c. ; accordingly nine months 
afterwards, in January and November, the daily nnmliers often 
exceed the usual average by fifteen to twenty. 

There is always a supply of wet nurses at the Cuna, but they 
are generally such as from bad character cannot obtain situations 
in private families ; the usual allotment was three children to 
one nurse. Sometimes, when a respectable woman is looking 
out for a place as wet-nurse, and is anxious not to lose her 
breast of milk, she goes, in the meanwhile, to the Cuna, when 


the poor child who draws it off plumps up a little, and then, when 
the supply is withdrawn, withers and dies. The appointed nurses 
dole out their milk, not according to the wants of the infants, but 
to make it do for their number. Some few are farmed out to poor 
mothers who have lost their own babe ; they receive about eight 
shillings a month, and these are the children which have the 
best chance of surviving, for )io woman who has been a mother, 
and has given suck, will willingly, when left alone, let an infant 
die. The nurses of the Cuna were familiar with starvation, and 
even if their milk of human kindness were not dried up or 
soured, they have not the means of satisfying their hungry 
number. The proportion who died was frightful ; it was indeed 
an organized system of infanticide. Death is a mercy to the 
child, and a saving to t!ie establishment ; a grown-up man's life 
never was worth much in Spain, much less that of a deserted 
baby. Tlie exposure of children to immediate death by the 
Greeks and Romans, was a trifle less cruel than the protracted 
dying in tliese Spanish charnel-houses. This Cuna., when last 
we visited it, was managed by an inferior priest, who, a true 
Spanish unjust steward, misapplied the funds. He became rich, 
like Gil Bias's overseer at Valladolid, by taking care of the pro- 
perty of the poor and fatherless ; his well-garnished quarters 
and portly self were in strange contrast Avith the condition of his 
wasted charges. Of these, the sick and dying were separated from 
the healthy ; the former were placed in a large room, once the 
saloon of state, whose gilded roof and fair proportions mocked the 
present misery. The infants were laid in rows on dirty mattresses 
along on the floor, and were left unheeded and unattended. 
Their large heads, shrivelled necks, hollow eyes, and wax wan 
figures, were shadowed w'ith coming death. Called into existence 
by no wish or fault of their own, their brief span was run out 
ere begun, while their mother was far away exclaiming, " When 
I have sufliiciently wept for his birth, I will weep for his death." 
Those who were more healthy lay paired in cradles arranged 
along a vast room ; but famine was in their cheeks, need starved 
in their eyes, and their slirill cry pained the ear on passing the 
threshold ; from their being underfed, they were restless and 
ever moaning. Their existence has indeed begun witli a sob, with 
Ei primer sollozo de la Cwia, the first sigh of the cradle, asRioja 


says, but all cry when entering the world, while many leave it 
with smiles. Some, the newly exposed, just parted from their 
mother's breast, liaving sucked their last farewell, looked plump 
and rosy ; they slept soundly, blind to the future, and happily 
unconscious of their fate. 

About one in twelve survived to idle about the hospital, ill 
clad, ill fed, and worse taught. The boys were destined for the 
army, the girls for domestic service, nay, for worse, if public 
report did not wrong their guardian priest. Tliey grew up to 
be selfish and unaffectionate ; having never known what kind- 
ness was, their young hearts closed ere they opened ; " the world 
v/as not their friend, nor the world's law." It was on their 
heads that the barber learned to shave, and on them were visited 
the sins of their parents ; having had none to care for them, 
none to love, they revenged themselves by hating mankind. 
Their occupation consisted in speculating on who their parents 
may be, and whether they should some day be reclaimed and 
become rich. A few occasionally are adopted by benevolent 
and childless persons, wlio, visiting the Cuna, take a fency to an 
interesting infant; but the child is liable ever after to be given 
up to its parents, should they reclaim it. Townshend men- 
tions an Oriental custom at Barcelona, where the girls when 
marriageable were paraded in procession through the streets, 
and any desirous of taking a wife was at liberty to select his 
object by " throwing his handkerchief." This Spanish custom 
still prevails at Kaples. 

Such was the Cima of Seville when we last beheld it. It is 
now, as we have recently lieard with much pleasure, admirably 
conducted, having been taken in charge by some benevolent 
ladies, who here as elsewhere are the best nurses and guardians 
of man in his first or second infancy, not to say of every inter- 
mediate stage. 

Our readers will concur in deeniino^ that wio,ht unfortunate 
who falls ill in Spain, as, whatever be his original complaint, it 
is too often followed by secondary and worse symptoms, in the 
shape of the native doctor ; and if the judgment passed by Spa- 
niards on that member of society be true, Esculapius cannot save 
the invalid from the crows ; the faculty even at Madrid are little 
in advance of their provincial colleagues, nay, often they are 


more destructive, since, being practitioners in the only court, the 
heaven on earth, they are in proportion superior to the medical 
men of the rest of the Morld, of whom of course they can learn 
nothing. They are, however, at least a century behind their 
brother professors of England. An unreasonable idea of self- 
excellence arises both in nations and in individuals, from having 
no knowledge of the relative merits of others, and from having 
few grounds or matei'ials whereon to raise comparison ; it exists 
therefore the strongest among the most uninformed and those 
who mix the least in the world. Thus in spite of manifold 
deficiencies, some of which will be detailed, the self-esteem of 
these medical men exceeds, if possible, that of the military ; 
both have killed their " ten tliousands." They hold themselves 
to be the first sabrcurs, physicians, and surgeons on earth, and 
the best qualified to wield the shears of the Parcae. It would 
be a waste of time to try to dispel this fatal delusion ; the well- 
intentioned monitor would simply be set down as malevolent, 
envious, and an ass ; for they think their ignorance tlie perfec- 
tion of human skill. Few foreigners can ever hope to succeed 
among them, nor can any native who may have studied abroad, 
easily introduce a better system : his elder bretliren would make 
common cause against him as an innovator ; he would be sum- 
moned to no consultations, the most lucrative branch of practice, 
while the confessors would poison the ears of the women (who 
govern the men) with cautions against the danger to their 
souls, of having their bodies cured by a Jew, a heretic, or a 
foreigner, for the terms are almost convertible. 

Meanwhile, as in couits of justice and other matters in Spain, 
all sounds admirably on paper — the forms, regulations, and 
system are perfect in theory. Colleges of physicians and sur- 
geons superintend the science, the professors are members of 
infinite learned societies, lectures are delivered, examinations are 
conducted, and certificates duly signed and sealed, are given. 
The young Galenista is furnished with a licence to kill, but what 
is wanting from beginning to end, to practitioner and patient, is 
life. The medical men know, nevertheless, every aphorism of 
the ancients by rote, and discourse as eloquently and plausibly 
on any case as do their ministers in Cortes. Both write capital 
theories and opinions extemporaneously. Their splendid lan- 
guage supplies words which seem to have cost thought. "What 

228 MEDICAL EDUCATION. [chap. xvn. 

is deficient is tliat clinical and best of education where the case 
is brouq;ht before the student with the corollary of skilful treat- 
ment : accidental deaths are consequently more common than 

Dissection again is even now repulsive to their Oriental pre- 
judices ; the pupils learn rather by plates, diagrams, models, 
preparations, and skeletons, than from anatomical experiments 
on a subject. As among the ancients and in the East to this day 
an idea is prevalent among the masses in Spain, that the touch 
of a dead body pollutes ; nor is the objection raised by the clergy, 
that it savours of impiety to mutilate a form made in the image of 
God, yet explofled. It will be remembered by our medical 
readers, if we have any, that Vezalius, the father of modern 
anatomy, when at Madrid was demanded by the Inquisition from 
Philip II., to be burnt for having performed an operation. 
The kint? sent him to expiate liis sin by a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land ; he was shipwrecked, and died of starvation at Zante. 

Can it be wondered at, v.ith such a tlieoretical education, 
that practice should continue to be antiquated, classical, and 
Oriental, and necessarily very limited ? In difficult cases of 
compound fracture, gun-shot wounds, the doctors give the 
patient up almost at once, although they continue to meet and 
take fees, until death relieves him of his complicated sufferings. 
In chronic cases and slighter fractures they are less dangerous ; 
for as tiieir pottering remedies do neither good nor harm, the 
struggle for life and death is left to nature, who sometimes works 
the cure. In acute diseases and inflammations they seldom suc- 
ceed ; for however fond of the lancet, they only nibble with the 
case, and are scared at the bold decided practice of Englishmen, 
whereat they shrug up shoulders, invoke saints, asid descant 
learnedly on the impossibility of treating complaints under the 
brio-ht sun and warm air of Catholic Spain, after the formulae of 
cold, damp, and foggy, heretical England. 

Most Spaniards who can afford it have their family or bolster 
doctor, the 3Iedico de Cahcccra, and their confessor. This pair 
take care of the bodies and souls of the whole house, bring them 
gossip, sliare their puchero, purse, and tobacco. They rule the 
husband through the women and the nurseiy, nor do they allow 
their exclusive privileges to be infringed on. Etiquette is the 
life of a Spaniard, and often his death, since every one has heard 


(the Spaniards swear it is all a French lie) that Philip III. was 
killed, rather than violate a form. He was seated too near the 
fire, and, although burning, of course as king of Spain the im- 
propriety of moving himself never entered his head, and when 
he requested one of his attendants to do so, none, in the absence 
of the proper officer whose duty it was to superintend the royal 
chair, ventured to take that improper liberty. In case of sudden 
emergencies among her Catholic Majesty's subjects, unless the 
family doctor be present, any other one, even if called in, gene- 
rally declines acting until the regular Esculapius arrives. An 
English medical friend of ours saved a Spaniard's life by chancing 
to arrive when the patient, in an apoplectic fit, was foaming at 
the mouth and wrestling with death ; all this time a strange 
doctor was sitting quietly in the next room smoking his cigar at 
the brasero, the chafing-dish, with the women of the family. 
Our friend instantly took 30 ounces from the sufferer's arm, not 
one of the Spanish party even moving from their seats. I'hus 
Apollo preserved him ! The same medical gentleman happened 
to accidentally call on a person who had an inflammation in the 
cornea of the eye : on questioning he found that many consulta- 
tions had been previously held, at which no determination was 
come to until at the last, when sea-bathing was prescribed, with 
a course of asses' milk and Chiclana snake-broth ; our heretical 
friend, who lacked the true faith, just touched the diseased part 
with caustic. When this application was reported at the ne^xt 
consultation, the native doctors all crossed themselves witli 
horror and amazement, which was increased when the patient 
recovered in a week. 

As a general rule at the first visit, they look as wise as pos- 
sible, shake their heads before the women, and always magnify 
the complaint, which is a safe proceeding all over the world, 
since all physicians can either cure or kill the patient ; in the first 
event they get greater credit and reward, while in the other 
alternative, the disease, having been beyond the reach of art, 
bears the blame. The medicos exhibit considerable ingenuity in 
prolonging an apparent necessity for a continuance of their 
visits. A common interest induces them to pull together — a 
rare exception in Spain — and play into each other's hands. The 
family doctor, whenever appearances will in anywise justify him, 


230 MEDICAL COSTUME. [chap. xvii. 

becomes alarmed, and requires a consultation, a Junta. What 
any Spanish Junta is in afFairs of peace or war need not be ex- 
plained ; and these are like the rest, they either do nothing, or 
what they do do, is done badly. At these meetings from three 
to seven 3Iedicos de apelacion, consulting physicians, attend, or 
more, according to the patient's purse : each goes to the sick 
man, feels his pulse, asks him some questions, and then retires 
to the next room to consult, generally allowing the invalid the 
benefit of hearing what passes. The Protomedico, or senior, 
takes the chair ; and while all are lighting their cigars, the 
family doctor opens the case, by stating the birth, parentage, 
and history of the patient, his constitution, the complaint, and 
the medicines hitherto prescribed. The senior next rises, and 
gives his opinion, often speaking for half an hour ; the others 
follow in their rotation, and then the Protomedico, like a judge, 
sums up, going over each opinion with comments : the usual 
termination is either to confirm the previous treatment, or make 
some insignificant alteration : the only certain thing is to ap- 
point another consultation for the next day, for which the fees 
are heavy, each taking from three to five dollars. The con- 
sultation often lasts many hours, and becomes at last a chronic 

It must be said, in justice to these able practitioners, that as a 
body they are careful in their dress : external appearance, not to 
say finery in apparel, raises in the eyes of the many, a profession 
which here is of uncertain social standing. On the same prin- 
ciple how careful is the costume, how brilliant are the shirt- 
studs of foreign fiddlers when in England ! The worthy Anda- 
lucian doctor of our Spanish family, and an eflficient one, as two 
of his patients now at rest could testify, never paid a visit except 
when gaily attired. So the Matador, when he enters the arena 
to kill the bull, is clad as a first-rate dandy mojo. This attention 
to person arises partly from the Moro-Ibero love of ostentation, 
and partly from sound GaiCnic principles and a high sense of pro- 
fessional duty. The ancient authorities enforced on the prac- 
titioner an attention to everything which created cheerful im- 
pi'essions, in order that he might arrive at the patient's pillow 
like a messenger of good tidings, and as a minister of health, not 
of death. They held that a grave costume might suggest un- 


pleasant associations to the sick man. Eaven-coloured undertaker 
tiglits, and a funereal, cadaverous look to match, are harbingers 
of blue devils and black crape, which no man, even when in 
blessed health, contemplates with comfort ; while the effect of 
such a facies hippocratica staring in the face of a poor devil 
whose life is despaired of, must be fatal. 

The prescriptions of these well-dressed gentlemen are some- 
what more old-fashioned than their coats. Their grand recipe 
in the first instance is to do nothing beyond taking the fee and 
leaving nature alone, or, as the set phrase has it, dejar d la 
naturaleza. The young and those whose constitutions are strong 
and whose complaints are weak, do well under the healing in- 
fluence of their kind nurse Nature, and recover through her 
vis medicatrix, which, if not obstructed by art, everywhere works 
wonderful cures. The Sangrado will say tliat a Spanish man or 
woman is more marvellously made than a clock, inasmuch as his or 
her machinery has a power in itself to regulate its own motions, 
and to repair accidents ; and therefore the watchmaker who is 
called in, need not be in a hurry to take it to pieces when a little 
oiling and cleaning may set all to rights. The remedies, when the 
proper time for their application arrives, are simple, and are 
sought for rather among the vegetables of the eartli's surface 
than from the minerals in its bowels. The external recipes con- 
sist chiefly of papers smeared witli lard, applied to the abdomen, 
sinapisms and mustard poultices to the feet, fomentations of 
marsh-mallows or camomile flowers, and the aid of the curate. 
The internal remedies, the tisanes, the Leches de Almendras, de 
Burros, decoctions of rice, and so forth, succeed each other in 
such regular order, that the patient scholar has nothing to do but 
repeat the medical passages in Horace's ' Satires.' In no coun- 
try, however, can all the sick be always expected to recover 
even then, since " Para todo hay remedio, sino para la muerte" 
— " There is a remedy for everything except death." If by 
chance the patient dies, the doctor and the disease bear tlie 
blame. Perhaps the old Iberian custom was the safest ; then the 
sick were exposed outside their doors, and the advice of casual 
passengers was asked, whose prescriptions were quite as likely to 
answer as images, relics, snake-soup, or milk of almonds or 
asses : — 

R 2 

232 DRUGGISTS. [chap. xvii. 

" And, doctor, do you really think 
That asses' milk I ought to drink ? 
It cured yourself, I grant, is true, 
But then 't was mother's milk to you." 

Nor, if the doctors knew how to prescribe them, are the 
nicer and most efficacious remedies, the preparations of mo- 
dern chemical science, to be procured in any except the very 
largest towns ; although, as in Romeo's apothecary, " the 
needy " shelves are filled with empty boxes " to make a show." 
The trade of a druggist is anything but free, and the numbers 
are limited ; none may open a Botica without a strict exa- 
mination and licence ; although, of course, this is to be had for 
money. None may sell any potent medicine, except according 
to the prescription of some local medical man ; everything is a 
monopoly. The commonest drugs are often either wanting or 
grossly adulterated, but, as in their arsenals and larders, no dis- 
penser will admit such destitution ; hay de todo, I have every 
thing, swears he, and gallantly makes up the prescription simply 
by substituting other ingredients ; and as the correct ones nine 
times out of ten are harmless, no great injury is sustained. 
There is nothing new in this, for Quevedo, in his ZaJmrdas de 
Pluton, or Satan's Pigsties, introduces a yellow-faced bilious 
judge scourging Spanish apothecaries for doing exactly the 
same, " Hence your shops," quoth he, for he both preached and 
flogged, " are arsenals of death, whose ministers here get their 
pills (balls rather) which banish souls from the earth ;" but 
these and other things have been long done with impunity, as 
Pliny said, no pliysician was ever hung for murder. One ad- 
vantage of general distrust in drugs and doctors is, that the great 
masses of the people think very little about them or their com- 
plaints : thus they escape all fancied and imaginary complaints, 
which, if indulged in, become chronic, and more difficult to 
cure than those afflicting the body — for who can minister to a 
mind diseased ? Again, from this want of confidence in remedies, 
very little physic at all is taken ; owing to this limited demand, 
druggists' shops are as rare in Spain as those of booksellers. 
No red, green, or blue bottles illuminate the streets at night, 
and there are more of these radiant orbs in the Fore street of 
the capital of the west of England, than in the whole capital of 

CHAP, xvn.] SNAKE-BROTH. 233 

the Spains, albeit with a population six times greater. It is true 
that, at Madrid, feeding on plum-pudding, diluted with sour 
cider and clotted cream, is not habitual. 

Many of the prescriptions of Spain are local, and consist of 
some particular spring, some herb, some animal, or some parti- 
cular air, or place, or bath, is recommended, which, however, is 
said to be very dangerous, unless some resident local medico be 
first consulted. One example is as good as a thousand : near 
Cadiz is Chiclana, to which the faculty invariably transport those 
patients whom they cannot cure, that is, about ninety-five in the 
hundred ; so in chronic complaints sea-bathing there, is prescribed, 
with a course of asses' milk ; and if that fail, then a broth made 
of a long harmless snake, which abounds in the aromatic wastes 
near Barrosa. We Iiave forgotten the generic name of this 
valuable reptile of Esculapius, one of which our naturalists 
should take alive, and either breed from it in the Regent's Park, 
or at least investigate his comparative anatomy with those 
exquisite vipers which make, as we have shown, such delicious 
pork at Montanches. 

We cannot refrain from giving one more prescription. Manj'' 
of the murders in Spain should rather be called homicides, being 
free from malice prepense, and caused by the readiness of the 
national cuclullo, witli which all the lower classes are armed like 
wasps; it is thus always at hand, when the blood is most on fire, 
and before any refrigeratory process commences. Thus, where an 
unarmed Englishman closes his fist, a Spaniard opens liis knife. 
This rascally instrument becomes fatal in jealous broils, when 
the lower classes light their anger at the torch of the Furies, and 
prefer using, to speaking daggers. Then the thrust goes home ; 
and however unskilled the regular Sangrados may be in anatomy 
and liaiiilling the scalpel, the universal people know exactly how to 
manage their knife and where to plant its blow ; nor is there any 
mistake, for the wound, although not so deep as a well, nor so 
wide as a cliurch door, " 't will serve." It is usually given after 
the treacherous fashion of their Oriental and Iberian ancestors, 
and if possible by a stab behind, and " under the fifth rib ;" and 
" one blow" is enougli. The blade, like the cognate Arkansas 
or Bowie knife of the Yankees, will " rip up a man right away," 
or drill him until a surgeon can see through his body. The 

2;m salve for knife-cuts. [chap. xiii. 

number killed on great religious and other festivals, exceeds 
those of most Spanish battles in the field, although the occur- 
rence is scarcely noticed in the newspapers, so much is it a 
matter of course ; but crimes which call forth a second edition 
and double sheet in our papers, are slurred over on the Continent, 
for foreigners conceal Avhat we most display. 

In minor cases of flirtation, where capital punishment is not 
called for, the offending party just gashes the cheek, of the pec- 
cant one, and suiting the word to the action observes, " ya estas 
senalad" "Now you are marked." This is precisely wm^e/ 
quarte, the gash in the cheek, which is the only salve for the 
touchy honour of a German student, when called ein dummer 
junge, a stupid youth : — 

" Und ist die quart gesessen 
So ist der touche vergessen." 

Again, " Mira que te pego, mira que te mato^'' " Mind I don't 
strike thee — mind I don't kill thee ;" are playful fondling ex- 
pressions of a Maja to a Mojo. When this particular gash is 
only threatened, the Seville phrase was, " Mira que te pinto un 
jaheque ;" " Take care that I don't draw you a xebeck " (the sharp 
Mediterranean felucca). " They jest at wounds who never felt 
a scar," but whenever this jaheque has really been inflicted, 
the patient, ashamed of the stigma, and not having the face to 
show himself or herself, is naturally anxious to recover a good 
character and skin, which only one cosmetic, one sovereign 
panacea, can eflect. This in Philip IV.'s time was cat's grease, 
which then removed such superfluous marks ; while Don Quixote 
considered the oil of Apariccio to be the only cure for scratches 
inflicted by female or feline claws. 

In process of time, as science advanced, this was superseded 
by Unto del hombre, or man's grease. Our estimable friend 
Don Nicolas Molero, a surgeon in high practice at Seville, 
assured us that previou;.;ly lo the French invasion he had often 
prepared this cataleptic specific, which used to be sold for its 
weight in gold, until, having been adulterated by unprincipled 
empirics, it fell into disrepute. The receipt of the balsam of 
I'ierabras has puzzled the modern commentators of Don Quixote, 
but the kindness of Don Nicolas furnished us with the ingredients 


of this pommade divine, or rather mortale. " Take a man in 
full health who has been just killed, the fresher the better, pare oif 
the fat round the heart, melt it over a slow fire, clarify, and put 
it away in a cool place for use." The multitudinous churcli 
ceremonies and holidays in Spain, which bring crowds together, 
combined with the sun, wine, and women, have always ensured a 
supply of fine subjects. 

In Spain, as elsewhere, the doctor mania is an expensive 
amusement, which the poor and more numerous class, especially 
in rural localities, seldom indulge in. Like their mules, they 
are rarely ill, and they only take to their beds to die. They 
have, it is true, a parish doctor, to whom certain districts 
are apportioned ; when he in his turn succumbs to death, 
or is otherwise removed, the vacancy is usually announced in 
the newspapers, and a new functionary is often advertised for. 
His trifling salary is made up of payments in money and in kind, 
so much in corn and so much in cash ; the leading principle is 
cheapness, and, as in our new poor-law, that proficient is pre- 
ferred, who will contract to do for the greatest number at the 
smallest charge. His constituents decline sometimes to place 
full confidence in his skill or alacrity : they oftener do consult 
the barber, the quack, or curandero ; for there is generally in 
orthodox Spain some charlatan wherever sword, rosary, pen, or 
lancet is to be wielded. The nostrums, charms, relics, incan- 
tations, &c., to which recourse is had, when not mediaeval, are 
scarcely Christian ; but the spiritual pharmacopoeia of this land of 
Figaro is far too important to form the tail-piece of any chapter. 



Spanish Spiritual Remedies for the Body — Miraculous Relics — Sanative 
Oils — Philosophy of Relic Remedies — Midwifery and the Cinta of Tor- 
tosa — Bull of Crusade. 

TiTE Reverend Dr. Fernando Castillo, an esteemed Spanish 
author and teacher, remarks, in his luminous Life of St. Dome- 
nick, that Spain has been so bountifully provided by heaven with 
fine climate, soil, and extra number of saints, that his countrymen 
are prone to be idle and to neglect such rare advantages. Cer- 
tainly tliey may not dig and delve so deeply as is done in lands 
less favoured, but the reproach of omitting to call on Hercules 
to do their work, or of not making the most of Santiago in any 
bodily dilemma, is a somewhat too severe reproach : nowhere 
in case of sickness have the saving virtues of relics, and the 
adjurations of holy monks, been more implicitly relied on. 

As our learned readers well know, the medical practice of the 
ancients was, as that of the Orientals still is, more peculiar than 
scientific. When disease was thought to be a divine punishment 
for sin, it was held to be wicked to resist by calling in human 
aid : thus Asa was blamed, and thus Moslems and Spaniards 
resign themselves to their fate, distrusting, and very properly, 
their medical men : " Am I a god, to kill or make alive?" In 
the large towns, in these days of progress, some patients may 
" suffer a recovery" according to European practice; but in the 
country and remote villages, — and we speak from repeated per- 
sonal experience, — the good old reliance on relics and charms is 
far from exploded ; and however Dr. Sangrado and Philip III., 
whose decrees on medical matters yet adorn the Spanish statutes 
at large, deplore the introduction of perplexing chemistry, 
mineral therapeuticals still remain a considerable dead letter, as 
the church has transferred the efficacy of faith from spiritual to 
temporal concerns, and gun-shot wounds. Even Ponz, the Lysons 


of Spain, and before the Inquisition was abolished, ventured to 
express surprise at the number of images ascribed to St. Luke, 
who, says he, was not a sculptor, but a physician, whence possibly 
their sanative influence. The old Iberians were great herbalist 
doctors ; thus those who had a certain plant in their houses, were 
protected, as a blessed palm branch now wards off lightning. 
They had also a drink made of a hundred herbs, and hence called 
centum herb<B, a hebida de cien herhas, which, like Morison's 
vegetable pills, cured every possible disease, and was so palatable 
that it was drunk at banquets, which modern physic is not; 
moreover, according to Pliny, they cured the gout with flour, 
and relieved elongated uvulas by hanging purslain round the 
patient's throat. So now the citrus y curanderos, country curates 
and quacks, furnish charms and incantations, just as Ulysses 
stopped liis bleeding by cantation : a medal of Santiago cures the 
ague, a handkerchief of the Virgin the ophthalmia, a bone of 
San Magin answers all the purposes of mercury, a scrap of San 
Frutos supplied at Segovia the loss of common sense ; tlie Virgin 
of Oiia destroyed worms in royal Infantes, and her sash at Tor- 
tosa delivers royal Infantas. Every Murcian peasant believes 
that no disease can affect him or his cattle, if he touches them 
\vith the cross of Caravaca, which angels brought from heaven 
and placed on a red cow. When we were last at Manresa, the 
worthy man who showed the cave in which Loyola the founder 
of the Jesuits did penance for a year, increased an honest liveli- 
hood by the sale of its pulverized stones, that were swallowed by 
tlie faithful in cases in which an English doctor would prescribe 
Dover's or James's powders. Every province, not to say parish, 
has its own tutelar saint and relic, which are much honoured and 
resorted to in their local jurisdiction, and very little thought of 
out of it, their power to cure having been apparently granted to 
them by Santiago, as a commission to commit is by Queen 
Victoria to a magistrate, whose authority does not extend beyond 
the county bounds. Zaragoza was admirably provided : a portion 
of the liver of Santa Engracia was anciently resorted to, in cases 
where blue pill would be beneficial ; the oil of her lamjis, which 
never smoked the ceilings, cured lamparoties, or tumours in the 
neck, while that which burnt before the Virgcn del Pilar, or 
the image of the Virgin which came down from heaven on a pillar. 

238 COSTUME OF CONVALESCENTS. [chap, xviii. 

restored lost legs ; Cardinal de Retz mentions in his Memoirs 
having seen a man whose wooden substitutes became needless 
when the originals grew again on being rubbed with it ; and this 
portent was long celebrated by the Dean and Chapter, as well it 
deserved, by an especial lioliday, for Macassar oil cannot do 
much more. This graven image is at this moment the object 
of popular adoration, and disputes even with the worship of 
tobacco and money : countless are the mendicants, the halt, 
blind, and the lame, who cluster around her shrine, as the equally 
afflicted ancients, with whom physicians were in vain, did around 
that of Minerva ; and it must be confessed that the cures worked 
are almost incredible. 

It may be said that all this is a raking up of remnants of 
mediseval superstition and darkness, and it is probable that the 
medical men in Madrid and the larger towns, and especially 
those who have studied at Paris, do not place implicit confidence 
in these spiritual, nor indeed in any other purely Spanish reme- 
dies ; but their tried medicinal properties are set forth at length 
in scores of Spanish county and other histories which we have 
the felicity to possess, all of which have pa.ssed the scrutinizing 
ordeal of clerical censors, and have been approved of as con- 
taining nothing contrary to the creed of the Church of Rome or 
good customs ; nor can it be permitted that a church which 
professes to be always one, the same, and the only true one, should 
at its own convenience " turn its back on itself, " and deny its 
own drugs and doctrines. Nothing is set down here which was 
not perfectly notorious under the reign of Ferdinand VII. ; and 
whatever the doctors of physic or theology may now disbelieve 
in Spain, more reliance is still placed, in the rural districts, 
where foreign civilization has not penetrated, on miracles than 
on medicines. 

We have often and often seen little children in the streets 
dressed like Franciscan monks — Cupids in cowls — whose pious 
parents had vowed to clothe them in the robes of this order, 
provided its sainted founder preserved their darlings during 
measles or dentition. Nothing was more common than that 
women, nay, ladies in good society, should appear for a year in 
a particular religious dress, called el hahito, or with some reli- 
gious badge on their sleeves in token of similar deliverance. 

CHAP. xviu.J CURE OF SOULS. 239 

One instance in our lime amused all the tertulias of Seville, who 
maliciously attributed the sudden relief which a fair high-born un- 
married invalid experienced from an apparent dropsical complaint 
to causes not altogether supernatural ; Piies, Don Ricardo, " and 
so, Master Richard," would her friends of the same age and rank 
often say, " you are a stranger ; go and ask dearest Esperanza 
why she wears the Virgin of Carmel ; come back and let us 
know her story, and we will tell you the real truth." Vaya ! 
vaya ! Don Ricardo, tistcd es muy majadero, — " Go to, Master 
Richard, your Grace is an immense bore," replied the penitent, 
if she suspected the authors and motive of the embassy. 

The pious in antiquity raised temples to Minerva medica or 
Esculapius, as Spaniards do altars to JSa. Sehora de los Reme- 
dios, our Lady of the Remedies, and to San Roque, whose inter- 
vention renders " sound as a roach," a proverb devised in his 
honour by our ancestors, who, before the Reformation, trusted 
likewise to him ; and both thought, if Cicero is to be credited, 
that these tutelars did at least as much as the doctor. Alas ! for 
the patient credulity of mankind, which still gulps down such 
medicinal quackery as all tliis, and which long will continue to 
do so even were one of the dead to rise from tlie grave, to 
deprecate the absurd treatment by which he and so many have 
been sacrificed. 

However, by way of compensation, the saving the soul has 
been made just as primary a consideration in Spain as the curing 
the body lias been in England. These relics, charms, and 
amulets represent our patent medicines ; and the wonder is how 
any one in Great Britain can be condemned to death in this 
world, or how any one in the Peninsula can be doomed to per- 
dition in the next : possibly the panaceas are in neither case 
quite specific. Be that as it may, how numerous and well- 
appointed are the churclies and convents there, compared to the 
hospitals ; how amply provided the relic-magazine witli bones and 
spells, when compared to the anatomical museums and chemists' 
shops ; again, what a flock of holy practitioners come forth after 
a Spaniard has been stabbed, starved, or executed, not one of 
wTiom would have stirred a step to save an army of his country- 
men when alive ; and what coppers are now collected to pay 
masses to get his soul out of purgatory ! 

240 PHILOSOPHY OF RELICS. [chap, xviii. 

Beware, nevertheless, gentle Protestant reader, of dying iu 
Spain, except in Cadiz or Malaga, where, if you are curious in 
Christian burial, there is snug lying for heretics ; and for your 
life avoid being even sick at Madrid, since if once handed over 
to the faculty make thy last testament forthwith, as, if the judg- 
ment passed on their own doctors by Spaniards be true, Escu- 
lapius cannot save thee from the crows : avoid the Spanish 
doctors therefore like mad dogs, and throw their physic after them. 

The masses and many in Spain have their own tutelars and 
refuges for the destitute ; the kings and queens — whom God 
preserve ! — have their own especial patroness by prerogative, in 
the image of the Virgin of Atocha at Madrid, which they and 
the rest of the royal family visit every Sunday in the year when 
in royal health. No sooner was the sovereign taken dangerously 
ill, and the court physicians at a loss what to do, as sometimes 
is the case even in Madrid, than the image used to be brought 
to his bedside ; witness the case of Philip III., thus described by 
Bassompierre in his dispatch : — " Les medecins en desesperent 
depuis ce matin que Ton a commence a user des remedes spiri' 
fuels, et faire transporter au palais Vimage de N. D. de Athoche." 
The patient died three days after the image was sent for. 

Although neither priest nor physician might credit the sana- 
tive properties of rags and relics, they gladly called them in, for 
if the case then went wrong, how could mortal man be expected 
to succeed when the supernatural remedy had failed ? All in- 
quests in awkward cases are hushed up by ascribing the death to 
the visitation of God. Again, if a relic does not always cure it 
rarely kills, as calomel has been known to do. This interruptive 
principle, one distinct from human remedies, is admitted by the 
church in the prayers for sick persons ; and where faith is sincere, 
even relics must offer a powerful moral medical cordial, by 
acting on the imagination, and giving confidence to the patient. 
This chance is denied to the poor Protestant, nay, even to a 
newly-converted tractarian, for truly, to believe in the efficacy of 
a monkish bone, the lesson must liave been learnt in the nursery. 
Their substitute in Lutheran lands, in partibus infidelium, 
is found in laudanum, news, and gossip; the latter being the 
grand specific by wliich Sir Henry kept scores of dowagers alive, 
to the despair of jointure-paying sons, from marquises down to 


baronets ; and how much real comfort is conveyed by the gentle 
whisper, " Your ladyship cannot conceive what an interest his 
or her Royal Highness the takes in your ladyship's con- 
valescence !" The foryn of the moral restorative will vary 
according to climate, creeds, manners, &c. ; it is to the substance 
alone that tlie philosophical physician will look. That chord 
must be touched, be it what it may, to whicli the pulse of the 
patient will respond ; nor, provided he is recovered, do the means 
much signify. 

One word only on Spanish midwifery. There is a dislike to 
male accoucheurs, and the midwife, or comadre, generally brings 
the Spaniard into the world by the efforts of nature and the aid of 
manteca de ptierco, or hogs' lard, a launching appropriate enough 
to a babe, who, if it survives to years of discretion, will assuredly 
love bacon. Tlie newly-born is then wrapped up, like an Egyp- 
tian mummy, and is carefully protected from fresh air, soap, and 
water ; an amulet is then hung round its neck to disarm the evil 
eye, or some badge of the Virgin is to ensure good luck .: thus 
the young idea is taught from the cradle, what errors are to be 
avoided and what safeguards are to be clung to, lessons which 
are seldom forgotten in after-life. Without entering further 
into baby details, the scanty population of the Peninstda may in 
some measure be thus accounted for. Parturition also is fre- 
quently fatal ; in ordinary cases the midwife does very well, but 
when a difficulty arises she loses her head and patient. It is in 
these trying moments, as in the critical operations of the kitchen, 
that a male artiste is preferable. 

The Queens and Infantas of Spain have additional advantages. 
The palladium of the city of Tortosa is the cinta * or girdle, 
which the Virgin, accompanied by St. Peter and St. Paul, 
brought herself from heaven to a priest of the cathedral in 
1178; an event in honour of whicli a mass is still said every 
second Sunday in October. The gracious gift was declared 
authentic in 1617, by Paul V., and to justify his infallibility it 
works every sort of miracle, especially in obstetric cases ; it is 
also broiight out to defend the town on all occasions of public 
calamity, but failed in the case of Suchet's attack. This 

* Ilallarse en Cinta is the Spanish equivalent for our "being in the 
family way." 


girdle, more wonderful than the cestus of Venus, was conveyed 
in 1822, by Ferdinand VIT.'s command, in solemn procession to 
Aranjuez, in order to facilitate the accouchement of the two 
Infantas, and as Lucina wlien duly invoked favoured women in 
travail, so their Royal Highnesses were happily delivered, and 
one of the babes then born, is the husband of Isabel II. For 
humbler Castilian women, when pregnant, a spiritual remedy 
\\as provided by the canons of Toledo, who took the liveliest 
interest in many of the cases. The grand entrance to the 
cathedral had thirteen steps, and all females who ascended and 
descended them ensured an early and easy time of it. No 
wonder therefore, when these steps were reduced to the number 
of seven, that the greatest possible opposition should have been 
made by tlie fair sex, married and unmarried. All these things 
of Spain are rather Oriental ; and to this day the Barbary Moors 
liave a cannon at Tangiers by which a Christian ship was sunk, 
and across this their women sit to obtain an easy delivery. In 
all ages and countries where the science of midwifery has made 
small progress, it is natural that some spiritual assistance should 
be contrived for perils of such inevitable recurrence as childbirth. 
The panacea in Italy was the girdle of St. Margaret, which 
became the type of this Cinta of Tortosa, and it was resorted to 
by the monks in all cases of diiUcult parturition. It was sup- 
posed to benefit the sex, because when the devil wished to eat 
up St. Margaret, the Virgin bound him with her sash, and he 
became tame as a lamb. This sash brought forth sashes also, 
and in the 17th century had multiplied so exceedingly, that a 
traveller affirmed "if all were joined together, they would reach 
all down Cheapside ;" but the natural history of relics is too 
well known to be enlarged upon. 

Any account of Spanish doctors without a death, would be 
dull as a blank day with fox-hounds, although the medical man, 
diffeiing from the sportsman, dislikes being in at it. He, the 
moment the fatal sisters three are running into their game, slips 
out, and leaves the last act to the clergyman : hence the Spanish 
saying, " When the priest begins, the physician ends." It is 
related in the history of Don Quixote, that no sooner did the 
barber feel the poor knight's wrist, than he advised him to attend 
to his soul and send for his confessor ; and now, when a Castilian 
hidalgo takes to his bed, his friends pursue much the same course, 


nor does the catastrophe often differ. Lord Bacon, great in wise 
saws and instances, prayed that his death might come from Spain, 
because then it would be long on the journey ; but he was not 
aware that the gentlemen in black formed an exception to tlie 
proverbial procrastination and dilatoriness of their fellow country- 
men. As patients are soon dispatched, the law * of the land sub- 
jects every physician to a fine of ten thousand maravedis, who fails 
after his first visit to prescribe confession ; the chief object in 
sickness being, as the preamble states, to cure the soul ; and so 
it is in Italy, where Gregory XVI. issued in 1845 three decrees; 
one to forbid railroads, another to prohibit scientific meetings, 
and a third to order all medical men to cease to attend invalids 
who had not sent for the priest and communicated after the third 
visit. In Spain, the first question asked in our time of the sick 
man was, not whether he truly repented of his sins, but whether 
he had got the Bull ; and if the reply was in the negative, or his 
old nurse had omitted to send out and buy one, the last sacra- 
ments were denied to the dying wretcL. 

One word on this wonderful Bull, that disarms death of its 
sting, and which, although few of our readers may ever have 
heard of it, plays a far more important part in the Peninsula than 
the quadruped does in the arena. Fastings are nowhere more 
strictly enjoined than here, where Lent represents the Ramadan of 
the Moslem. The denials have been mitigated to those faithful who 
have good appetites, by the paternal indulgence of their holy father 
at Rome, who, in consideration that it was necessary to keep the 
Spanish crusaders in fighting condition in order more effectually 
to crush the infidel, conceded to Saint Ferdinand the permission 
that his army might eat meat rations during Lent, provided there 
were any, for, to the credit of Spanish commissariats in general, 
few troops fast more regularly and religiously. The auspicious 
day on which the arrival is proclaimed of this welcome bull tliat 
announces dinner, is celebrated by bells merry as at a marriage 
feast ; in the provincial cities mayors and corporations go to 
cathedral in what is called state, to the wonder of the mob and 
amusement of their betters at the resurrection of quiz coaches, 
the robes, maces, and obsolete trappings, by whicli these shadows 
of a former power and dignity hope to mark individual and col- 
* K<.'Copilacion, Lib. iii. Tit. xvi. Ley 3. 

244 NECESSITY OF THE BULL. [chap, xviii. 

lective insignificancy. A copy of this precious Bull cannot of 
course be had for nothing, and as it must be paid for, and in 
ready money, it forms one of the certain branches of public in- 
come. Although the proceeds ought to be expended on cru- 
sading purposes, Ferdinand VII., the Catholic King, and the 
only sovereign in possession of such a revenue, never contributed 
one mite towards the Christian Greeks in their recent struorofle 
against the Turkish unbelievers. 

These bulls, or rather paper-money notes, are prepared with 
the greatest precautions, and constituted one of the most profitable 
articles of Spanish manufacture ; a maritime war with England 
was dreaded, not so much from regard to the fasting transatlantic 
souls, as from the fear of losing, as Dr. Robertson has shown, 
the sundry millions of dollars and silver dross remitted from 
America in exchange for these spiritual treasures. Tiiey were 
printed at Seville, at the Dominican convent, the Porta coeli ; 
but Soult, who now it appears is turning devotee, burnt down 
this gate of heaven, with its passports, and tlie presses. The bulls 
are only good for the year during which they are issued ; after 
twelve months they become stale and unprofitable. There is 
then, says Blanco White, and truly, for we have often seen it, 
" a prodigious hurry to obtain new ones by all those w ho wish 
well to their souls, and do not overlook the ease and comfort of 
their stomachs." A fresh one must be annually taken out, like a 
game-certificate, before Spaniards venture to sport with flesh or 
fowl, and they have reason to be thankful that it does not cost 
three pounds odd : for the sum of dos reales, or less than sixpence, 
man, woman, and child may obtain the benefit of clergy and 
cookery ; but evil betides the uncertificated poacher, treadmills 
for life are a farce, perdition catches his soul. His certificate is 
demanded by the keeper of conscience when he is caught in the 
trap of sickness, and if without one, his conviction is certain; he 
cannot plead ignorance of the law, for a postscript and condition is 
aflBxed to all notices of jubilees, indulgences, and other purgatorial 
benefits, which are fixed on the church doors ; and the lans-uasfe 
is as courteous and peremptory as in our popular assessed tax- 
paper—" Se ha de tener la bula :" you must have the bull ; if you 
expect to derive any relief from tliese relaxations in purgatory, 
wiiich all Spaniards most particularly do : hence tlie common 

CHAP, xviii.] DEATH-BED IN SPAIN. 245 

phrase used by any one, when committing some little peccadillo 
in other matters, tengo mi hula para todo — I have got my bull, 
my licence to do any thing. Tlie possession of this document acts on 
all fleshly comforts like soda on indigestion, indeed it neutralizes 
everything except heresy. As it is cheap, a Protestant resident, 
albeit he may not quite believe in its saving effects, will do well 
to purchase one for the sake of the peace of mind of his weaker 
brethren, for in this religion of forms and outer observances, more 
horror is felt by rigid Spaniards, at seeing an Englishman eating 
meat during a fast, than if he had broken all the ten command- 
ments. The sums levied from the nation for these bulls is very 
large, although they are diminished before finally paid into the 
exchequer ; some of the honey gathered by so many bees will 
stick to their wings, and the place of chief commissioner of the 
Bula is a better thing than that in the Excise or Customs of 
unbelieving countries. 

To return to the dying man : if he has the bull, the host is 
brought to him with great pomp ; the procession is attended by 
crowds who bear crosses, lighted candles, bells and incense ; and 
as the chamber is thrown open to the public, the ceremony is ac- 
companied by multitudes of idlers. The spectacle is always impo- 
sing, as it must be, considering that the incarnate Deity is believed 
to be present. It is particularly striking on Easter Sunday, when 
the host is taken to all the sick who have been unable to commu- 
nicate in the parish church. Then the priest walks either under 
a gorgeous canopy, or is mounted in the finest carriage in the 
town ; and while all as he passes kneel to the wafer which he 
bears, he chuckles internally at his own reality of power over 
his prostrate subjects ; the line of streets are gaily decorated as 
for the triumphal procession of a king: tlie windows are hung 
with velvets and tapestries, and the balconies filled with the fair 
sex arrayed in their best, who shower sweet flowers down on the 
procession just at the moment of its passage, and sweeter smiles 
during all tlie rest of the morning on their lovers below, whose 
more than divided adoration is engrossed by female divinities. 

To difc without confession and communication is to a Spaniard 
the most poignant of calamities, as he cannot be saved while he is 
taught that there is in these acts a preserving virtue of their own, 
independent of any exertions on his part. The host is given when 


246 BURIAL DRESSES. [chap. xvm. 

human hopes are at an end, and the heat, noise, confusion, and ex- 
citement, seldom fail to kill the already exhausted patient. Then, 
wlien life's idle business at a gasp is o'er, the body is laid out in a 
capilla ardie7ite, or an apartment prepared as a chapel, by taking 
out the furniture ; where the family is rich, a room on the ground 
floor is selected, in which a regular altar is dressed up, and rows of 
large candles lighted placed around the body ; the public is then 
allowed to enter, even in the case of the sovereign : thus we be- 
held Ferdinand VII. laid out dead and full dressed with his hat 
on his head, and his stick in his hand. This public exhibition is 
a sort of coroner's inquest ; formerly, as we have often seen, the 
body was clad in a monk's dress, with the feet naked and the 
hands clasped over the breast ; the sepulchral shadow then 
thrown over the dead and placid features by the cowl, seldom 
failed to raise a solemn undefinable feeling in the hearts of spec- 
tators, speaking, as it did, a language to the living wliich could 
not be misunderstood. 

The woollen dresses of the mendicant orders were by far the 
most popular, from the idea that, when old, they had become too 
saturated with the odour of sanctity for the vile nostrils of the 
evil one ; and as a tattered dress often brought more than half-a- 
dozen new ones, the sale of these old clothes was a benefit alike 
to the pious vendor and purchaser ; those of St. Francis were 
preferred, because at his triennial visits to purgatory, he knows 
his own, and takes them back with him to heaven ; hence Milton 
peopled his shadowy limbo with wolves in sheep's clothing : — 

" who, to be sure of Paradise, 

Dying put on the robes of Dominick, 
Or in Franciscan think to pass unseen." 

Women in our time were often laid out in nuns' dresses, wear- 
ing also the scapulary of the Virgin of Carmel, which she gave to 
Simon Stock, with the assurance that none who died with it on, 
should ever suffer eternal torments. The general adoption of 
these grave fashions induced an accurate foreigner to remark, that 
no one ever died in Spain except nuns and monks. In this hot 
country, burial goes hand in hand with death, and it is absolutely 
necessary from the rapidity with which putrefaction comes on. 
The last offices are performed in somewhat an indecent manner : 
formerly the interment took place in churches, or in the yards near 


tliem, a custom which from hygeian reasons is now prohibited. 
Public cemeteries, which give at least 4 per cent, interest, have 
been erected outside the towns, in which long lines of catacombs 
gape greedily for those occupants who can pay for them, while 
a wide ditch is opened every day for those who cannot. In this 
campo sa7ito, or holy field, death levels all ranks, which seems 
hard on those great families who have built and endowed chapels 
to secure a burial among their ancestors. They however raised 
no objections to the change of law, nor have ever much troubled 
themselves about the dilapidated sepulchres and crumbling effigies 
of their " grandsires cut in alabaster ;" the real opposition arose 
from the priests, who lost their fees, and thereupon assured their 
flocks, that a future resurrection was anything but certain to 
bodies committed into such new-fangled depositories. 

Be that as it may, the corpse in its slight cofiin is carried out, 
followed by the male relations, and is then put into its niche 
without further form or prayer. Ladies who die soon after 
marriage, and before the bridal hours have danced their measure, 
are sometimes buried in tiieir wedding dresses, and covered with 
flowers, the dying injunctions of Shakspere's Queen Catherine : — 

" When I am dead, good wench, 
Let me be used with honour ; strew me o'er 
With maiden flowers, that all the world may know 
I was a chaste wife to my grave." 

At such funerals the coffin is opened in the catacomb, to gratify 
the indecent curiosity of the crowd ; the dress is next day dis- 
cussed all over the town, and the entierro or funeral is pronounced 
to be muy lucido or very brilliant ; but life in Spain is a jest, and 
these things show it. The place assigned for children who die 
under seven years of age lies apart from that of the adults ; their 
early death is held in Spain to be rather a matter of congratula- 
tion than of grief, since those whom the gods love die young ; 
their epitaphs tell a mixed tale of joy and sorrow. El parvulo 
fue arrehatado a la gloria, the little one was snatched up into 
Paradise : — 

" There is beyond the sky a heaven of joy and love, 

And holy children, when they die, go to that world above." 

Yet nature will not be put aside, and many a mother have we 
seen, loitering alone near the graves, adorning them with roses 


248 BURIAL OF THE POOR. [chap. xvm. 

and plucking up weeds which have no business to grow there 
tiie little corpses are carried to the tomb by little children of the 
same age, clad in white, and are strewed with flowers short-lived 
as themselves, sweets to the sweet. The parents return home 
yearning after the lost child — its cradle is empty, its piteous 
moan is heard no more, its playthings remain where it left them, 
and recall the cruel gap which grief cannot fill up, although it 

" Stuffs out its vacant garments with its form." 

Tiie bodies of the lower orders, dressed in their ordinary attire, 
are borne to their long home by four men, as is described by 
Martial ; " no useless coffins enclose their breasts," they are car- 
ried forth as was the widow's son at Nain. And often have we 
seen the frightful death-tray standing upright at the doors of the 
humble dead, with a human outline marked on the wood by the 
death -damp of a hundred previous burdens. Such bodies are 
cast into the trench like those of dogs, and often naked, as the 
survivors or sextons strip them even of their rags. Those poorer 
still, who cannot afford to pay the trifling fee, sometimes during 
the night, suspend the bodies of their children in baskets, near 
the cemetery porch. We once beheld a cloaked Spaniard pacing 
mournfully in tlie burial-ground of Seville, who, when the public 
trench was opened, drew from beneath the folds the body of his 
dead child, cast it in and disappeared. Thus half the world lives 
without knowing how the other half dies. 

In the upper ranks the etiquette of the funeral commences 
after tlie reality is over. The first necessary step is within three 
days to pay a visit of condolence to the family ; this is called 
para dar el pesame. The relations are all assembled in the best 
room, and seated on chairs placed at the head, the women at one 
end and the men at another. When a condoling lady and gentle- 
man enter, she proceeds to shake hands with all the other ladies 
one after another, and then seats herself in the next vacant chair; 
the gentleman bows to each of the men as he passes, who rise 
and return it, a grave dumb-show of profound affliction being 
kept up by all. On reaching the chief mourners, they are 
addressed by each condoler with this phrase, " Acompcmo a 
usted en su sentimiento ;" " I share in the affliction of your 
grace;" the company meanwhile remain silent as an assemblage 


of undertakers. After sitting among them the proper time, 
each retires with much the same form. 

In a few days afterwards a printed letter is sent round in the 
name of all the surviving relations to annoimce the death to the 
friends of tlie family, and to beg the favour of attendance at the 
funeral service : these invitations are all headed with a cross ( + ), 
which is called El Cristus. Before the invasion of the enemy, 
who not only destroyed the walls of convents, but sapped religious 
belief also, very many books were printed, and private letters 
written, with this sign prefixed. In our time sundry medical men 
at Seville always headed with it their prescriptions, the Cardinal 
Archbishop having granted a certain number of years' release 
from purgatory to all who sanctified with this mark their recipes 
even of senna and rhubarb. Under this cross, in the invitation, 
are placed the letters R. I. P. A., which signify " Requiescat in 
pace. Amen," At the appointed hour the mourners meet in the 
casa mOTtiiaria, or the house of death, and proceed together to 
church. All are dressed in full black, and before the progress 
of paletots and civilization, wore no cloaks : this, as it rendered 
each man of them more uncomfortable than St, Bartholomew 
w as without his skin, was considered an oflfering of genuine grief 
to tlie manes of the deceased. Uncloaking in Spain is, be it 
remembered, a mark of respect, and is equivalent to our taking 
off the hat. When the company arrives at church, they are 
received by the ministers, and the ceremony is very solemnly 
performed before a catafalque covered with a pall, which is 
placed before the altar, and is brilliantly lighted up with wax 
candles. As soon as the service is concluded, all advance and 
bow to the chief mourners, who are seated apart, and thus the 
tragedy concludes. Parents do not put on mourning for their 
children, which is a remnant of the patriarchal and Roman supe- 
riority of the head of the family, for whom, however, when dead, 
all the other members pay the most observant respect. The 
forms and number of days of mourning are most nicely laid 
down, and are most rigidly observed, even by distant relations, 
who refrain from all kinds of amusements : — 

" None bear about the mockery of woe 
To public dances or to private show." 

We well remember the death of a kind and venerable Marquesa 

250 ALL SOULS' DAY. [chap, xviii. 

at Seville just before the carnival, whose chief grief at dying, was 
the thought of the number of young ladies who would thus be de- 
prived of their balls and masquerades ; many, anxious and obliging, 
were the inquiries sent after her health, and more even were the 
daily prayers offered up to the Virgin, for the prolongation of her 
precious existence, could it be only for a few weeks. 

November drear, brings in other solemnities connected with 
the dead, and in harmony with the fall of the sear and yellow 
leaves, to whicli Homer compares tlie races of mortal men. The 
night before the first of November — our All Hallow-e'en — is 
kept in Spain as a vigil or wake ; it is the fated hour of love 
divinations and mysteries; then anxious maidens used to sit at 
their balconies to see the image of their destined husbands pass or 
not pass by. November the first is dedicated to the sainted dead, 
and November the second to all souls : it is termed in Spanish 
el dia de los difuntos, the day of the dead, and is most scru- 
pulously observed by all who have lost during the past year 
some friend, some relation— how few have not ! The dawn 
is ushered in by mournful bells, which recal the memory of those 
who cannot come back at the summons ; the cemeteries are 
then visited ; at Seville, long processions of sable-clad females, 
bearing chased lamps on staves, walk slowly round and round, 
chaunting melancholy dirges, returning when it gets dusk in 
a long line of glittering lights. The graves during the day are 
visited by those who take a sad interest in their occupants, and 
lamps and flower garlands are suspended as memorials of affec- 
tio)i, and holy water is sprinkled, every drop of which puts out 
some of the fires of purgatory. These picturesque proceedings at 
once resemble the Eed es Segheer of modern Cairo, the feralia 
of the Romans, the Nefxema of the Greeks : here are the flower 
offerings of Electra, the funes assensi, the funeral torches of 
pagan mimrners, wiiich have vainly been prohibited to Christian 
Spaniards by their early Council of Illiberis. In Navarre, and 
in the north-west of Spain, bread and wheat offerings called robos 
are made, which are the doles or gifts offered for the souls' rest 
of the deceased by the pious of ancient Rome. 

As on this day the cemetery becomes the public attraction, it 
too often looks rather a joyous fashionable promenade, tiian a 
sad and religious performance. The levity of mere strangers 


and the mob, contrasts strangely with the sorrow of real mourners. 
But life in this world presses on death, and the gay treads 
on the heels of pathos ; the spot is crowded with mendicants, 
who appeal to the order of the day, and importune every tender 
recollection, by begging for the sake of the lamented dead. Outside 
the dreary walls all is vitality and mirth ; a noisy sale goes on of 
cakes, nuts, and sweetmeats, a crash of horses and carriages, 
a din and flow of bad language from those who look after them, 
which must vex the repose of the beuditas animas, or the blessed 
souls in purgatory, for wliom otherwise all classes of Spaniards 
manifest the fondest affection and interest. 

Such is the manner in which the body of a most orthodox 
Catholic Castilian is committed to the earth ; his soul, if it goes 
to purgatory, is considered and called blessed by anticipation, as 
the admittance into Paradise is certain, at the expiration of the 
term of penal transportation, that is, " when the foul crimes done 
in the days of nature are burnt and purged away," as the ghost in 
Hamlet says, who had not forgotten his Virgil. If the scholar 
objects to a Spanish clergyman, tliat the whole thing is Pagan, he 
will be told that he may go farther and fare worse. In the case 
of a true Roman Catholic, this term of hard labour may be much 
§hortened, since that can be done by masses, any number of 
which will be said, if first paid for. The vicar of St. Peter 
holds the keys, which always unlock the gate to those who offer 
the golden gift by which Charon was bribed by iEneas ; thus, to 
a judicious rich man, nothing, supposing that he believes the Pope 
versus the Bible, is so easy as to get at once into Heaven ; nor 
are the poor quite neglected, as any one may learn who will read 
the extraordinary number of days' redemption which may be 
obtained at every altar in Spain by the performance of the most 
trumpery routine. The only wonder is how any one of the faithful 
should ever fail to secure his delivery from this spiritual Botany 
Bay without going there at all, or, at least, only for the form's 
sake. It was calculated by an accurate and laborious German, 
that an active man, by spending three shillings in coach-hire, 
might obtain in an hour, by visiting different privileged altars 
during tlie Holy week, 29,639 years, nine months, thirteen days, 
tiiree minutes and a half diminution of purgatorial punish- 
ment. This merciful reprieve was offered by Spanish priests in 


South America, on a grander style, on one commensurate with 
that colossal continent ; for a single mass at the San Francisco in 
Mexico, the Pope and prelates granted 32,310 years, ten days, 
and six hours indulgence. As a means of raising money, says 
our Mexican authority, " I would not give this simple institution 
of masses for the benefit of souls, for the power of taxation pos- 
sessed by any government ; since no tax-gatherer is required ; the 
payments are enforced by the best feelings, for who would not 
pay to get a parent's or friend's soul from the fire ?" Purgatory 
has thus been a Golconda mine of gold to his Holiness, as even 
the poorest have a chance, since charitable persons can deliver 
blank souls by taking out a habeas animam writ, that is, by paying 
the priest for a mass. The especial days are marked in the almanac, 
and known to every waiter at the inn ; moreover, notice is put 
on the church door. Hoy se saca anima, " this day you can get 
out a soul." They are generally left in their warm quarters in 
winter, and taken out in the spring. 

Alas for poor Protestants, who, by non-payment of St. Peter's 
pence, have added an additional act of heresy, and the worst of all, 
the one which Rome never pardons. These defaulters can only 
hope to be saved by faith, and its fruits, good works ; they must 
repent, must quit their long-cherished sins, and lead a new life ; 
for them there is no rope of St. Francis to pull them out, if once 
in the pit ; no rosary of St. Domenick to remove them, quick, 
presto, begone, fi"om torment to happiness. Outside the pale of 
the Vatican, their souls have no chance, and inside the frontiers 
of Spain their bodies have scarcely a better prospect, should 
they die in that orthodox land. There the greatest liberal 
barely tolerates any burial at all of their black-blooded heretical 
carcasses, as no corn will grow near them. Until within a very 
few years at seaport towns, their bodies used to be put in a hole 
in the sands, and beyond low water mark ; nay, even this con- 
cession to the infidel offended the semi-Moro fishermen, who true 
believers and persecutors feared that their soles might be poisoned : 
not that either sailor or priest ever exhibited any fear of taking 
British current coin, all cash that comes into their nets being 
most Catholic, so says the proverb, El dinero es muy Catolico. 

Matters connected with the grave have been placed, as regards 
Protestants, on a much more pleasant footing within thtee last 


few years ; and it may be a consolation to invalids, who are 
sent to Spain for change of climate, and who are particular, to 
know, in case of accidents, that Protestant burial-grounds are now 
permitted at Cadiz, Malaga, and in a few other places. The 
history of the permission is curious, and has never, to the best of 
our belief, been told. In the days of Philip II. Lutherans 
were counted in many degrees worse than dogs; when caught 
alive, they were burnt by the holy tribunal ; and when dead, were 
cast out on the dunghill. Even when our poltroon James I. 
sent, in 1622, his ill-judged olive-bearing mission, by which 
Spain was saved from utter humiliation, Mr. Hole, the secretary 
of the ambassador, Lord Digby, having died at Santander, the 
body was not allowed to be buried at all ; it was put into a shell, 
and sunk in the sea ; but no sooner was his lordship gone, than 
" the fishermen," we quote from Soniers' tracts, " fearing that 
they should catch no fish as long as the coffin of a heretic lay in 
their waters," fished it up, "and the corpse of our countryman 
and brother was thrown above ground, to be devoured by the 
fowls of the air." In the treaty of 1630, the 31st Article pro- 
vided for the disposal of the goods of those Englishmen who 
might die in Spain, but not for their bodies. " These," says a 
commentator of Rymer, '^ must be left stinking above ground, 
to the end that the dogs may be sure to find them." When Mr. 
Washington, page to Charles L, died at Madrid, at the time his 
master was there, Howell, who was present, relates that it was 
only as an especial favour to the suitor of the Spanish Infanta 
that the body was allowed to be interred in the garden of the 
embassy, under a fig-tree. A few years afterwards, 1650, Aschani, 
the envoy of Cromwell, was assassinated, and his corpse put, with- 
out any rites, into a hole ; but the Protector was not a man to be 
trifled with, and knew well how to deal with a Spanish govern- 
ment, always a craven and bully, from whom nothing ever is to 
be obtained by concession and gentleness, which is considered as 
weakness, while everything is to be extorted from its fears. He 
that very year conmianded a treaty to be prepared for the proper 
burial of liis subjects, to which the blustering Spaniard imme- 
diately assented. This provision was stipulated into the treaty of 
Charles IL in 1664, and was conceded and ratified again in 
1667 to Sir Itichard Fanshawe. 

254 CEMETERY AT MALAGA. [chap, xviir. 

No step, however, appears to have been taken before 1796, 
when Lord Bute purchased a spot of ground for the burial 
of Englishmen outside the Alcala-gate, at Madrid. During the 
war, when all Spain was a churchyard to our countrymen, this bit 
of land was taken possession of by a worthy Madrilenian, not for 
his place of sepulture, but for good and profitable cultivation. 
In 1831 Mr. Addington caused some researches to be made, and 
the original conveyance was found in the Co7itaduria de 
Hypothecas, the registry of deeds and mortgages which back- 
ward Spain possesses, and which advanced England does not. 
The intruder was ejected after some struggling on his part. 
Before Lord Bute's time the English had been buried at night 
and without ceremonies, in the garden of the convent de los 
Hecoletos ; and, as Lord Bute's new bit of ground was extensive 
and valuable, the pious monks wished to give up the English 
corner in their garden, in exchange for it ; but the transfer was 
prevented by the recent law which forbade all burial in cities. 
The field purchased by Lord Bute is now unenclosed and uncul- 
tivated ; fortunately it has not been much wanted, only fifteen 
Protestants having died at Madrid during the last thirty years. 
In November, 1831, Ferdinand VII. finally settled this grave 
question by a decree, in which he granted permission for the 
erection of a Protestant burial-ground in all towns where a 
British consul or agent should reside, subject to most degrading 
conditions. The first cemetery set apart in Spain, in virtue of 
this gracious decree from a man replaced on his throne by the 
death of 30,000 Englishmen, was the work of Mr. Mark, our 
consul at Malaga ; he enclosed a spot of ground to the east of 
that city, and placed a tablet over the entrance, recording the 
royal permission, and above that a cross. Thus he appealed to 
the dominant feelings of Spaniards, to their loyalty and religion. 
The Malagenians were amazed when they beheld this emblem of 
Christianity raised over the last home of Lutheran dogs, and 
exclaimed, " So even these Jews make use of the cross !" The 
term Jew, it must be remembered, is the acme of Spanish loath- 
ing and vituperation. The first body interred in it was that of 
Mr. Boyd, who was shot by the bloody Moreno, with the poor 
dupe Torrijos and the rest of his rebel companions. 



The Spanish Figaro — Mustachios — Whiskers — Beards — Bleeding — Heraldic 
Blood — Blue, Red, and Black Blood — Figaro's Shop — The Baratero — 
Shaving and Toothdrawiug. 

Few who love Don Quixote, will deem any notice on the Penin- 
sular surgeon complete in which the barber is not mentioned, 
even be it in a postscript. Although the names of both these 
learned professors have long been nearly synonymous in Spain, 
the barber is much to be preferred, inasmuch as his cuts are less 
dangerous, and his conversation is more agreeable. He with the 
curate formed the quiet society of the Knight of La Mancha, as 
the apothecary and vicar used to make that of most of our country 
squires of England. Let, therefore, every Adonis of France, 
now bearded as a pard although young, nay, let each and all of 
our fair readers, albeit equally exempt from the pains and penal- 
ties of daily shaving, make instantly, on reaching sunny Seville, 
a pilgrimage to the shrine of San Figaro. His shop — apocryphal 
it is to be feared as other legendary localities — lies near the 
catliedral, and is a no less established lion tlian the house of 
Dulcinea is at Toboso, or the prison tower of Gil Bias is at 
Segovia. Such is the magic power of genius. Cervantes and 
Le Sage have given form, fixture, and local habitation to tlie 
airy nothings of their fancy's creations, while Mozart and Rossini, 
by filling tlie world witli melody, have bidden the banks of the 
Guadalquivir re-echo to their sweet inventions. 

To those even who have no music in their souls, the movement 
from doctors to barbers is harmonious in a land where beards 
were long honoured as the type of valour and chivalry, and 
where shaving took the precedence of surgery ; and even to this 
day, la tienda de barbero, the shop of the man of the razor, is 
better supplied than many a Spanish hospital both with patients 
and cutting instruments. One word first on the black whiskers 
of tawny Spain. These putillas, as they are now termed, must 

256 SPANISH MUSTACHIOS. [chap. xix. 

be distinguished from the ancient mustachio, the mostacho, a 
very classical but almost obsolete word, wliich the scholars of 
Salamanca have derived from fivarai,, the upper lip. Their present 
and usual name is Bigote, which is also of foreign etymology, 
being the Spanish corruption of the German oath bey gott, and 
formed under the following circumstances : for nicknames, which 
stick like burrs, often survive the history of their origin. The free- 
riding followers of Charles V., who wore these tremendous appen- 
dages of manhood, swore like troopers, and gave themselves infinite 
airs, to the more infinite disgust of their Spanish comrades, who 
have a tolerable good opinion of themselves, and a first-rate hatred 
of all their foreign allies. These strange mustachios caught their 
eyes, as the stranger sounds which proceeded from beneath them 
did their ears. Having a quick sense of the ridiculous, and a 
most Oriental and schoolboy knack at a nickname, they thereupon 
gave the sound to the substance, and called the redoubtable gar- 
nish of hair, bigotes. This process in the formation of phrases is 
familiar to philologists, who know that an essential part often is 
taken for the whole. For example, a hat, in common Spanish par- 
lance, is equivalent to a grandee, as with us the woolsack is to a 
Lord Chancellor. It is natural that unscholastic soldiers, when 
dealing with languages which they do not understand, should 
fix on their enemies, as a term of reproach, those words which, from 
hearing used the most often, they imagine must constitute the 
foundation of the hostile grammar. Thus our troops called the 
Spaniards los Carajos, from their terrible oaths and terrible 
runnings away. So the clever French designated as les godams, 
those " stupid " fellows in red jackets who never could be made 
to know when they were beaten, but continued to make use of 
that significant phrase in reference to their victors, until they 
politely showed them the shortest way home over the Pyrenees. 
The real Spanish mustachio, as worn by the real Don Whis- 
kerandoses, men with shorter cloaks and purses than beards and 
rapiers, have long been cut off, like the pig- tails of our monarchs 
and cabinet ministers. Yet their merits are embalmed in meta- 
phors more enduring than that masterpiece in bronze with which 
Mr. AVjatt, full of Phidias, has adorned King George's back and 
Charing Cross. Thus hombre de mucho bigote, a man of much 
moustache, means, in Spanish, a personage of considerable pre- 


tension, a fine, liberal fellow, and anything, in short, but a bi^ot 
in wine, women, or theology. The Spanish original realities, 
like the pig-tails of Great Britain, have also been immortalised 
by fine art, and inimitably painted by Velazquez. Under his 
life-conferring brush they required no twisting with hot irons. 
Curling from very ire and martial instinct, they were called 
bigotes a la Fernandina, and their rapid growth was attributed 
to the eternal cannon smoke of the enemy, into which nothino- 
could prevent their valorous wearers from poking their faces. 
This luxuriance has diminished in these degenerate times, unless 
Napier's ' History of the Peninsular War ' be, as the Spaniards 
say, written in a spirit of envy and jealousy against their heroic 
armies.w hieli alone trampled on the invincible eagles of Austerlitz. 

As among the Egyptian gods and priests, rank was indicated 
by the cut of the beard, so in Spain the military civil and clerical 
shapes were carefully defined. The Charley, or Imperial, as we 
term the little tuft in the middle of the under lip, a word by the 
way which is derivable either from our Charles or from his 
namesake emperor, was called in Spain El perrillo, "the little 
dog," the terminating tail being omitted, which however becom- 
ing in the animal and bronzes, shocked Castilian euphuism. 

In the media-'val periods of Spain's greatness the beard and not 
the whisker was the real thing ; and as among the Orientals and 
ancients, it was at once the mark of wisdom and of soldiership ; 
to cut it off was an insult and injury scarcely less than decapita- 
tion ; nay, this nicety of honour survived the grave. Tlie seated 
corpse of the Cid, so tells his history, knocked down a Jew vvlio 
ventured to take the dead lion by his beard, which, as all natural 
philosophers know, has an independent vitality, and grows 
whether its master be alive or dead, be willing or unwilling. 
When the insolent Gauls pulled these flowing ornaments of the 
aged Roman senators, they, who with unmoved dignity had seen 
Marshal Brennus steal their plate and pictures, could not brook 
that last and greatest outrage. In process of time and fashion 
the beards of Spain fell off, and being only worn by mendicant 
monks and he-goats, were considered ungentlemanlike, and were 
substituted among cavaliers by the Italian mostachio ; the seat oi 
Spanish honour was then placed under the nose, that sensitive 
sentinel. The renowned Duke of Alva being of course in want 

253 THE BIGOTE. [chap, xix 

of money, once offiered one of his bigotes as a pledge for a loan, 
and one only was considered to be a sufficient security by the 
Rothschilds of the day, who remembered the hair-breadth escape 
of their ancestor too well to laugh at anything connected with a 
hero's beard ; nous avons change tout cela. The united He- 
brews of Paris and London would not now advance a stiver for 
every particular hair on the bodies of Narvaez and Espartero, 
not even if the moustache reglementaire of Montpensier, and a 
bushel of Bourbon beards, warranted legitimate, were added. 

The use of the bigote in Spain is legally confined to the mili- 
tary, most of whose generals — their name is legion — are tenderly 
chary of their Charlies, dreading razors no less than swords ; 
when the Infante Don Carlos escaped from England, the only 
real diflliculty was in getting him to cut off his moustache ; he 
would almost sooner have lost his head, like his royal English 
tocayo or omonyme. Elizabeth's gallant Drake, when he burnt 
Philip's fleet at Cadiz, simply called his Nelsonic touch " singeing 
the King of Spain's whiskers," Zurbano the otlier day thought 
it punishment enough for any Basque traitors to cut off their 
bigotes, and turn them loose, like rats without tails, jiour en- 
courager les autres. It is indeed a privation. Thus Majaval, 
the pirate murderer, who by the glorious uncertainty of English 
law was not hanged at Exeter, offered his prison beard, when he 
reached Barcelona, to the delivering Virgin. Many Spanish civi- 
lians and shopkeepers, in imitation of tlie transpyrenean Calicots, 
men who wear moustachios on their lips in peace, and spectacles 
on their noses in war, so constantly let them grow, that Ferdi- 
nand VII. fulminated a royal decree, which was to cut them off 
from the face of the Peninsula, as the Porte is docking his true 
believers. Such is tlie progress of young and beardless civiliza- 
tion. Tlie attempt to sliorten the cloaks of Madrid nearly cost 
Charles III. his crown, and this cropping mandate of his beloved 
grandson was obeyed as Spanish decrees generally are, for a 
month all but twenty-nine days. These decrees, like solemn 
treaties, charters, stock-certificates, and so forth, being mostly used 
to liglit cigars ; now-a-days that the Moro-Spaniard is aping 
the true Parisian polish, the national countenance is somewhat 
put out of face, to the serious sorrow and disparagement of 
poor Figaro. 


As for liis house and home none can fail finding it out ; no 
cicerone is wanted, for the outside is distinguislied from afar by 
the emblems of his time-honoured profession : first and foremos.t 
hangs a bright glittering metal Mambrino-helmet basin, with a 
neat semicircular opening cut out of the rim, into which the 
throat of the patient is let during the operation of lathering, 
which is always done with the hand and most copiously ; near it 
are suspended huge grinders, which in an English museum would 
pass for the teeth of elephants, and for those of Saint Christopher 
in Spanish churches, where comparative anatomy is scouted as 
heretical in the matter of relics ; strange to say, and no Spanish 
theologian could ever satisfy us why, this saint is not the 
" especial advocate " against the toothache ; here Santa Apollonia 
is the soothing patroness. Near these molars are displayed a^^ ful 
phlebotomical symbols, and rude representations of bloodlettings ; 
for in Spain, in church and out, painting does the work of print- 
ing to the many who can see, but cannot read. The barber's 
pole, with its painted bandage riband, the support by which the 
arm was kept extended, is wanting to the threshold of the Figaros 
of Spain, very much because bleeding is generally performed in 
the foot, in order that the equilibrium of the whole circulation 
may be maintained. The painting usually presents a female 
foot, which being an object, and not unreasonably, of great devo- 
tion in Spain, is selected by the artist ^ tradition also influences 
the choice, for the dark sex were wont formerly to be bled regu- 
larly as calves are still, to obtain whiteness of flesh and fairness of 
complexion : as it ^vas usual on each occasion that the lover 
should restore the exhausted patient by a present, the purses of 
gallants kept pace with the venous depletion of their mistresses. 
The Sangrados of Spain, professional as well as unprofessional, 
have long been addicted to the shedding of innocent blood ; 
indeed, no people in the world are more curious about the pedi- 
gree purity of their own blood, nor less particular about pouring 
it out like water, whether from their own veins or those of others, 
One word on this vital fluid with which vuihappy Spain is too 
often watered during her intestine disorders. 

If the Iberian anatomists did not discover its circulation, the 
heralds liave " tricked" out its blazoning, as we do our admirals, 
with all the nicety of armorial coloi'iug. 13lae blood, Sangre 

260 HERALDIC BLOOD. [chap. xix. 

azuL is the ichor of demigods which flows in the arteries of the 

grandees and liighest nobility, each of whose pride is to be 

" A true Hidalgo, free from every stain 
Of Moor or Jewish blood," 

a boast which like some others of theirs wants confirmation, as it 
is in the power of one woman to taint the blood of Cliarlemagne ; 
and nature, which cannot be written down by Debretts, has 
stamped on their countenances the marks of hybrid origin, and 
particularly from these very and most abhorred stocks ; it is 
from tliis tint of celestial azure that the term sangre su is given 
in Spain to the elect and best set of earth, the haute voice, who 
soar above vulgar humanity. Red blood flows in tlie veins of 
poor gentlemen and younger brothers, and is just tolerated by 
all, except judicious mothers, whose daughters are marriageable. 
Blood, simple blood, is tlie puddle which paints the cheek of 
the plebeian and roturier ; it has, or ought to possess, a per- 
fect incompatibility with the better coloured fluid, and an oil 
and vinegar property of non-amalgamation. There is more 
difference, as Salario says, between such bloods, than there is 
between red wine and Rhenish. These and other dreams are, it 
is to be feared, the fond metaphors of heralds. The rosy stream 
in mockery o^ rouge croix and blue dragons flows inversely and 
perversely : in the arteries of the lusty muleteer it is the lava 
blood of health and vigour ; in the monkey marquis and baboon 
baron it stagnates in the dull lethargy of a blue collapse. Their 
noble ichor is virtually more impoverished than their nominal 
rent-roll, since the operation of transmission of wholesome blood 
from young veins into a worn-out frame, which is so much prac- 
tised elsewhere, is too nice for the Sangre su and Sangrados of 
Spain ; the thin fluid is never enriched with the calipash heiress 
of an alderman, nor is the decayed genealogical stock renewed 
by the golden graft of a banker's only daughter. The insignifi- 
cant grandees of Spain quietly permitted Christina to barter 
away their country's liberties ; but when her children by the base- 
born Munoz came betwixt them and their nobility, then alone 
did they remonstrate. Indifferent to the degradation of the throne, 
they were tremblingly alive to the punctilios of their own order. 
Those Peninsular ladies who are blues, by blood not socks, are 
equally fastidious in the serious matter of its admixture even by 


Hymen : one of them, it is said, having chanced in a moment of 
weakness to mingle her azure with sometliing brownish, alleged in 
excuse that she had done so for her cliaracter's sake. " Que dis- 
parate, mi Senora." " AVhat nonsense, my lady !" was her fair 
confidante's reply ; " ten bastards would have less discoloured your 
blood, tlian one legitimate child the issue of such a mis- 

To stick, however, to our colours ; black blood is the vile 
Stygean pitch which is found in the carcasses of Jews, Gentiles, 
Moors, Lutherans, and other combustible heretics, with whose 
bodies the holy tribunal made bonfires for the good of their 
souls. Nay, in the case of the Hebrew this black blood is also 
thouglit to stink, whence Jews were called by learned Latinists 
putos, quia putant ; and certainly at Gibraltar an unsavoury 
odour seems to be gentilitious in the children of Israel, not 
however to unorthodox and unheraldic nostrils a jot more so, than 
in the believing Spanish monk. Recently the colour black has 
been assigned to the blood of political opponents, and a copious 
'■^ shedding of vile black blood" has been the regular panacea 
of every military Sangrado. How extremes meet ! Thus, this 
aristocracy of colour, in despotical old Spain, which lies in the 
veins, is placed on the skin in new republican America. Where is 
the free and easy Yankee would recognise a brother, in a black ? 

To return to Figaro. There is no mistaking his shop ; for inde- 
pendently of the external manifestations of the fine arts practised 
within, his threshold is the lounge of all idlers, as well as of 
those who are anxious to relieve their chins of the thick stubble 
of a three days' growth. The house of the barber has, since the 
days of Solomon and Horace, been the mart of news and gossip, 
— of epigram and satire, as Pasquino the tailor's was at Rome. 
It is the club of the lower orders, who here take up a position, 
and listen, cloaked as Romans, to some reader of the official 
Gazette, which, with a cigar, indicates modern civilization, and 
soothes him with empty vapour. Here, again, is the mint of 
scandal, and all who have lived intimately with Spaniards, know 
how invariably every one stabs his neighbour behind his back 
with words, the lower orders occasionally using knives sharper 
even than their tongues. Here, again, resort ganibh'rs, who, 
seated on the ground with cards more begrimed than the earth, 

262 THE BAKATERO. [chap. xix. 

pursvie their fierce game as eager as if existence was at slake ; for 
there is generally some well-known cock of the walk, a bully, 
or cfuapo, who will come up and lay his hand on the cards, and 
say, "No one shall play with any cards but with mine" — aqui 
no se jiiega sino con mis barajas. If the parties are cowed, they 
give him a lialfpenny each. If, however, one of the challenged 
be a spirited fellow, he defies him — Aqui no se cobra el barato 
sino con iin puTial de Albacete — " You get no change here 
except out of an Albacete knife." If tiie defiance be accepted, 
Vamos alia is the answer — " Let 's go to it." There 's an end 
then of the cards, all Hock to the more interesting ecarte; instances 
have occurred, where Greek meets Greek, of their tying the two 
advanced feet together, and yet remaining fencing with knife 
and cloak for a quarter of an hour before the blow be dealt. 
The knife is held firmly, the thumb is pressed straight on the 
blade, and calculated either for the cut or thrust. 

The term Barato strictly means the present which is given 
to waiters who bring a new pack of cards. The origin is 
Arabic, Baara, " a voluntary gift ;" in the corruption of the 
Baratero, it has become an involuntary one. Our legal term 
Barratry is derived from the mediaeval Barrateria, which sig- 
nified cheating or foul play. Cervantes well knew that Baratar 
in old Spanish meant to exchange unfairly, to thimble-rig, to 
sell anything under its real value, and therefore gave the name 
of Barrateria to Sancho's sham government. The Baratero is 
quite a thing of Spain, where personal prowess is cherished, and 
there is one in every regiment, ship, prison, and even among 

The interior of the barber's shop is equally a cosa de EspaTta. 
Her neighbour may boast to lead Europe in hair-dressing and 
clipping poodles, but Figaro snaps his fingers at her civilization, 
and no cat's ears and tail can be closer shaved than his one's are. 
The walls of his operating room are neatly lathered with white- 
wash : on a peg hangs his brown cloak and conical hat ; his 
shelves are decorated with clay-painted figures of picturesque 
rascals, arrayed in all their Andalucian toggery — bandits, bull- 
fighters, and smugglers, wlio, especially the latter, are more uni- 
versally popular than all or any long-tail-coated cliancellors of ex- 
chequers. The walls are enlivened with rude prints of fiuidango 


dancings, miracles, and bull-fights, in which the Spanish vulgar 
delight, as ours do in racing and ring notabilities. Nor is a por- 
trait of his querida, his black-eyed sweetheart, often wanting. Near 
these, for religion mixes itself with everything of Spain, are images 
of the Virgin, patron saints, with stoups for holy water, and little 
cups in which lighted wicks burn floating on green oil ; and 
formerly no barber prepared for an operation, whether on veins, 
teeth, or beards, witliout first making the sign of a cross. Thus 
hallowed, his implements of art are duly arranged in order ; his 
glass, soap, towels, and leather strap, and guitar, which indeed, 
■with the razor, constitutes the genus barber. " Tliese worthies," 
said Don Quixote, " are all either guitarristas o copleros ; they 
are either makers of couplets, or accompany other songsters with 
catgut." Hence Quevedo, in his ' Pigsties of Satan,' punishes 
unrighteous Figaros, by hanging up near them a guitar, which 
tantalizes tiieir touch, and moves away when they wish to take it 

Few Spaniards ever shave themselves ; it is too mechanical, so 
they prefer, like the Orientals, a " razor that is hired," and as 
that must be paid for, scarcely any go to the expensive luxury of 
an every -day shave. Indeed, Don Quixote advised Sancho, 
when nominated a governor, to shave at least every other day if 
he wished to look like a gentleman. The peculiar sallowness of 
a Spaniard's face is lieightened by the contrast of a sable bristle. 
Figaro himself is dressed much after the fashion in which he 
appears on transpyrenean stages ; he, on true Galenic principles, 
takes care not to alarm his patients by a lugubrious costume. 
There is nothing black, or appertaining to the grave about him ; 
he is all tags, tassels, colour, and embroidery, quips and quirks ; 
he is never still ; always in a bustle, he is lying and lathering, 
cutting chins and capers, here, there, and everywhere. Figaro 
la, Figaro qua. If he has a moment free from taking off 
beards and making paper cigars, he whips down his guitar and 
sings the last seguidilla ; thus he drives away dull care, who 
hates the sound of merry music, and no wonder ; the operator 
performs his professional duties much more skilfully than the 
rival surgeon, nor does he bungle at any little extraneous 
amateur commissions ; and there are more real performances 


264 SPANISH SHAVING. lchap. xix. 

enacted by the barbers in Seville itself, than in a dozen European 
opera houses. 

These Figaros, says their proverb, are either mad or garrulous, 
Barbcros, o locos, a parleros. Hence, when the Andalucian 
autocrat, Adrian, when asked how he liked to be shaved, replied 
" Silently." Humbler mortals must submit to let Figaro 
have his wicked way in talk ; for when a man is fixed in his 
operating chair, with his jaws lathered, and his nose between a 
finger and a thumb, there is not much conversational fair play 
or reciprocity. The Spanish barber is said to learn to shave on 
the orphan's head, and nothing, according to one described by 
Martial, escaped except a single wary he-goat. The experiments 
tried on the veins and teeth of aching humanity, are sometimes 
ludicrous — at others serious, as we know to our cost, having been 
silly enough to leave behind in Spain two of our wise teeth as 
relics, tokens, and trophies of Figaro's unrelenting prowess. 
We cannot but remember such things were, and were dearer, 
than the pearls in Cleopatra's ears, which she melted in her gaz- 
pachos. " A mouth without molars," said Don Quixote to 
Sancho, " is worse than a mill without grinding-stones ;" and 
the Don was right. 



What to observe in Spain — How to observe — Spanish Incuriousness and Sus- 
picions — French Spies and Plunderers — Sketching in Spain — Difficulties , 
How Surmounted— Efficacy of Passports and Bribes — Uncertainty and 
Want of Information in the Natives. 

Now that the most approved methods of travelling, living, and 
being buried in Spain have been touched on, our kind readers 
will naturally inquire, what are the peculiar attractions which 
should induce gentlemen and ladies who take their ease at home, 
to adventure into this land of roughing it, in which 7ats rather 
than hares jump up when the least expected. " What to ob- 
serve " is a question easier asked than answered ; who indeed can 
cater for the multitudinous variety of fancies, the differences by 
which Nature keeps all nature right ? Who shall decide when 
doctors disagree, as they always do, on matters of taste, since 
every one has his own way of viewing tilings, and his own hobby 
and predilection ? Say not, however, with Smellfungus, that all 
is a wilderness from Dan to Beersheba, — nor seek for weeds 
where flowers grow. The search for the excellent is the high 
road to excellence, as not to appreciate it wlien found is the 
surest test of mediocrity. The refining effort and habit teaches 
the mind to think ; from long pondering on the beautiful world 
without, snatches are caught of the beautiful world within, and 
a glimpse is granted to the chosen few, of glories hidden from the 
vulgar manjr. They indeed have eyes, but see not ; nay, scarcely 
do they behold the things of external nature, until told what to 
look for, where to find it, and how to observe it ; then a new 
sense, a second sight, is given. Happy, thrice liappy those 
from whose eyes tlie film has been removed, who instead of a 
previous vague general and unintelligent stare, have really learnt 
to seel To them a fountain of new delights, pure and imdtfiled, 
welling up and overflowing, is opened ; in proportion as they 
comprehend the infinite form, colour, and beauty with which 


Kature clothes lier every work, albeit her sweetest charms are 
only revealed to the initiatetl, reserved as tlie rich reward of those 
who bow to her shrine with singleness of purpose, and turn to 
lier worship with all their hearts, souls, and understandings. 

It was with these beneficent intentions that our good friend 
John Murray first devised Handbooks ; and next, by writing 
them himself, taught others how to dip into inkstands for red 
books, which tell man, woman, and child what to observe, to the 
ruin of laquais de place, and discomfiture of authors of single 
octavos and long vacation excursions. Few gentlemen who 
publish the notes of their Peninsular gallop much improve their 
light diaries by discussing heavy handbook subjects ; skimming, 
like swallows, over the surface, and in pursuit of insects, they 
neither heed nor discern the gems which lurk in the deeps 
below ; they see indeed all the scum and straws which float on 
the surface, and Mrite down on their tablets all that is rotten in 
the state of Spain. Hence the sameness of some of their works ; 
one book and bandit reflects another, until writers and readers 
are imprisoned in a vicious circle. Nothing gives more pain to 
Spaniards than seeing volume after volume written on tliemselves 
and their country by foreigners, who have only rapidly glanced 
at one-half of the subject, and that half the one of which they 
are the most ashamed, and consider the least worth notice. This 
constant prying into the nakedness of the land and exposing it 
afterwards, has increased the dislike which they entertain towards 
the imperlinente curioso tribe : they well know and deeply feel 
their country's decline ; but like poor gentlefolks, who have 
nothing but the past to be proud of, they are anxious to keep 
these family secrets concealed, even from themselves, and still 
more from the observations of those who happen to be their 
superiors, not in blood, but in worldly prosperity. This dread 
of being shown up sharpens their inherent suspicions, wheo 
strangers wish to " observe," and examine into their ill-provideo 
arsenals and institutions, just as Burns was scared even by the 
honest antiquarian Grose ; so they lump the good and the l>ad, 
putting thera down as book-making Paul Prys : — 

"If there 's a hole in a' your coats, 
I rede ye tent it ; 
A chiel 's amang ye, taking notes, 
And faith ! he 11 prent it." 


The less observed and said about these Spanish matters, these 
cosas de Espana — the present tatters in her once proud (lag, on 
which the sun never set — is, they think, the soonest mended. 
These comments heal slower than the knife-gai^h — " Sanan 
cuchilladas, mas no malas j)cdabrasy Let no author imagine 
that the fairest observations that he can take and make of Spain 
as she is, setting down nought in malice, can ever please a 
Spaniard ; his pride and self-esteem are as great as the self-con- 
ceit and low consequence of the American : both are mor- 
bidly sensitive and touchy ; both are afflicted with the notion 
that all the world, who are never troubling their heads about 
them, are thinking of nothing else, and linked in one common 
conspiracy, based in envy, jealousy, or ignorance ; " you don't 
understand us, I guess." Truth, except in the shape of a com- 
pliment, is the greatest of libels, and is howled against as a 
lie and forgery from the Straits to the Bidasoa; Napier's his- 
tory, for example. Tlie Spaniard, wlio is hardly accustomed to 
a free, or rather a licentious press, and the scavenger propensity 
with which, in England and America, it rakes into the sewers 
of private life and the gangrenes of public, is disgusted with 
details which he resents as a breach of hospitality in strangers. 
He considers, and justly, that it is no proof either of goodness of 
breeding, heart, or intellect, to be searching for blemishes rather 
than beauties, for toadstools rather than violets ; he despises those 
curmudgeons who see motes ratlier than beams in the briglitest 
eyes of Andalucia. The productions of strangers, and especially 
of those who ride and write the quic'kest, must savour of the pace 
and sources from whence they originate. Foreigners \vho are 
imacquainted with the language and good society of Spain are 
of necessity brought tlie most into contact witli the lowest scenes 
and the worst class of people, tlius road-scrapings and postilion 
information too often constitute the raw-head-and-bloody-bones 
material of their composition. All this may be very amusing to 
those who like these subjects, but they afford a poor criterion fur 
descanting on w^hatever does the most honour to a country, or 
gives sound data forjudging its real condition. How would we 
ourselves like that Spaniards should form their opinions of 
England and Englislmien from the Newgate calendars, the re- 
ports of cads, and the annals of beershops "i 

268 DISLIKE TO OBSERVEKS. [chap. xx. 

Various as are the objects worth observing in Spain, many of 
which are to be seen there only, it may be as well to mention 
what is not to be seen, for there is no such loss of time as finding 
this out oneself, after weary chace and wasted hour. Those who 
expect to meet with well-garnished arsenals, libraries, restau- 
rants, charitable or literary institutions, canals, railroads, tunnels, 
suspension-bridges, steam-engines, omnibuses, manufactories, 
polytechnic galleries, pale-ale breweries, and similar appliances 
and appurtenances of a high state of political, social, and com- 
mercial civilization, had better stay at home. In Spain there 
are no turnpike-trust meetings, no quarter-sessions, no courts of 
justice, according to the real meaning of that word, no tread- 
mills, no boards of guardians, no chairmen, directors, masters- 
extraordinary of the court of chancery, no assistant poor-law 
commissioners. There are no anti-tobacco-teetotal-temperance- 
meetings, no auxiliary-missionary-propagating societies, nothing 
in the blanket and lying-in asylum line, nothing, in short, worth 
a revising-barrister of three years' standing's notice, unless he 
be partial to the study of the laws of bankruptcy. Spain is no 
country for the political economist, beyond affording an example 
of the decline of the wealth of nations, and offering a wide topic 
on errors to be avoided, as well as for experimental theories, 
plans of reform and amelioration. In Spain, Nature reigns ; 
she has there lavished her utmost prodigality of soil and climate, 
which Spaniards have for the last four centuries been endeavour- 
ing to counteract by a culpable neglect of agricultural speeches 
and dinners, and a non-distribution of prizes for the biggest boars, 
asses, and labourers with largest families. 

The landed proprietor of the Peninsula is little better than a 
weed of the soil ; he lias never observed, nor scarcely permitted 
others to observe, the vast capabilities which might and ought to 
be called into action. He seems to have put Spain into Chan- 
cery, such is the general dilapidation. The country is little 
better than a terra incognita, to naturalists, geologists, and all 
other branches of istsand ologists. Everywhere there, the mate- 
rial is as superabundant as native laboui'ers and operatives are 
deficient. All these rnteresting branches of inquiry, healthful 
and agreeable, as being out-of-door pursuits, and bringing the 
amateur in close contact with nature, offer to embryo authors 


who are ambitious to hook something new, a more worthy subject 
than the old story of dangers of bull-fights, bandits, and black 
eyes. Those who aspire to the romantic, the poetical, the senti- 
mental, the artistical, the antiquarian, the classical, in short, to 
any of the sublime and beautiful lines, will find both in the past 
and present state of Spain, subjects enough in wandering with 
lead-pencil and note-book through this singular country, which 
hovers between Europe and Africa, between civilization and 
barbarism ; this land of the green valley and barren mountain, 
of the boundless plain and the broken sierra ; those Elysian gar- 
dens of the vine, the olive, the orange, and the aloe ; those 
trackless, vast, silent, uncultivated wastes, the heritage of the 
wild bee ; — in flying from the dull uniformity, the polished mo- 
notony of Europe, to the racy freshness of that original, un- 
changed country, where antiquity treads on the heels of to-day, 
where Paganism disputes the very altar with Christianity, where 
indulgence and luxury contend with privation and poverty, where 
a want of all that is generous or merciful is blended with the 
most devoted heroic virtues, where the most cold-blooded cruelty 
is linked with the fiery passions of Africa, where ignorance and 
erudition stand in violent and striking contrast. 

" There," says the Handbook, in a style which qualifies the 
author for the best bound and fairest edited album, " let the 
antiquarian pore over the stirring memorials of many thousand 
years, the vestiges of Phoenician enterprise, of Roman magnifi- 
cence, of Moorish elegance, in that storehouse of ancient 
customs, that repository of all elsewhere long forgotten and 
passed by ; there let him gaze upon those classical monuments, 
unequalled almost in Greece or Italy, and on those fairy Aladdin 
palaces, the creatures of Oriental gorgeousness and imagination, 
with which Spain alone can enchant the dull European ; there 
let the man of feeling dwell on the poetry of her envy -disarming 
decay, fallen from her high estate, the dignity of a dethroned 
monarch, borne with unrepining self-respect, the last consolation 
of the innately noble, whicli no adversity can take away; let the 
lover of art feed his eyes with the mighty masterpieces of ideal 
Italian art, when Raphael and Titian strove to decorate the 
palaces of Charles, the great emperor of the age of Leo X. Let 
him gaze on the living nature of Velazquez and Murillo, whose 

270 WHAT TO OBSERVE. [chap. xx. 

paintings are truly to be seen in Spain alone ; let the artist 
sketcli frowning forms of the castle, the pomp and splendour of 
the cathedral, where God is worshipped in a manner as nearly 
befitting his glory. as the arts and wealth of finite man can reach. 
Let him dwell on the Gothic gloom of the cloister, the feudal 
turret, the vasty Escorial, the rock-built alcazar of imperial 
Toledo, the sunny towers of stately Seville, the eternal snows and 
lovely vega of Granada ; let the geologist clamber over moun- 
tains of marble, and metal-pregnant sierras ; let the botanist cull 
from the wild hothouse of nature plants unknown, unnumbered, 
matchless in colour, and breathing the aroma of the sweet south ; 
let all, learned and unlearned, listen to the song, the guitar, the 
Castanet ; or join in the light fandango and spirit-stirring bullfight ; 
let all mingle with the gay, good-humoured, temperate peasantry, 
free, manly, and independent, yet courteous and respectful ; let 
all live with the noble, dignified, high-bred, self-respecting 
Spaniard ; let all share in their easy, courteous society ; let all 
admire their dark-eyed women, so frank and natural, to whom 
the voice of all ages and nations has conceded the palm of attrac- 
tion, to whom Venus has bequeathed her magic girdle of grace 
and fascination ; let all — but enough on starting on this expedi- 
tion, " where," as Don Quixote said, " there are opportunities, 
brother Sancho, of putting our hands into what are called adven- 
tures up to our elbows." 

Nor was the La Manchan hidalgo wrong in assigning a some- 
what adventurous cliaracter to the searchers in Spain for useful 
and entertaining knowledge, since the natives are fond, and witn 
much reason, of comparing themselves and their country to 
tesoros escondidos, to hidden treasures, to talents buried in 
napkins ; but they are equally fond of turning round, and falling 
foul of any pains-taking foreigner who digs them up, as Le Sage 
did the soul of Pedro Garcias. Nothing: throug^hout the leng'th 
and breadth of the land creates greater suspicion or jealousy than 
a stranger's making drawings, or writing down notes in a book : 
whoever is observed sacando planes, " taking plans," mape- 
ando el pais, " mapping the country," — for such are the ex- 
pressions of the simplest pencil sketch — is thought to be an 
engineer, a spy, and, at all events, to be about no good. The 
lower classes, like the Orientals, attach a vague mysterious 


notion to these, to them unintelligible, proceedings ; whoever is 
seen at work is immediately reported to the civil and military 
authorities, and, in fact, in out-of-the-way places, whenever an 
unknown person arrives, from the rarity of the occurrence, he 
is the observed of all observers. Much the same occurs in the 
East, where Europeans are suspected of being emissaries of their 
governments, as neither they nor Spaniards can at all under- 
stand why any man should incur trouble and expense, which no 
native ever does, for the mere purpose of accpiiring knowledge of 
foreign countries, or for his own private impi'ovement or amuse- 
ment. Again, whatever particular investigations or questions 
are made by foreigners, about things that to the native appear 
unworthy of observation, are magnified and misrepresented by 
the many, who, in every place, wish to curry favour with who- 
ever is the governor or chief person, whether civil or military. 
The natives themselves attach little or no importance to views, 
ruins, geology, inscriptions, and so forth, which they see every 
day, and which they therefore conclude cannot be of any more, 
or ought not to be of more, interest to the stranger. They judge 
of him by themselves ; few men ever draw in Spain, and those 
who do are considered to be professional, and employed by others. 
One of the many fatal legacies left to Spain by the French, 
was an increased suspicion of men with the pencil and note- 
book. Previously to their invasion spies and agents were sent, 
who, under the guise of travellers, reconnoitred the land ; and 
then, casting off the clothing of sheep, guided in the wolves 
to plunder and destruction. The aged prior of the Merced, at 
Seville, observed to us, when pointing out the empty frames and 
cases from whence the Messrs. vSoult and Co. had " removed " 
the Murillos and sacred plate, — " Lo creira usted — Will your 
Grace believe it, I beheld among the ladrones a person who 
grinned at me when I recognised him, to whom, some time before 
the invaders' arrival, I had pointed out these very treasures. Tonto 
de mi I Oh ! simpleton that I was, to take a gahacho for an 
honest man." Yet this worthy individual was decorated with the 
legion of honour of Buonaparte, whose " first note in his pocket- 
book " of agenda, after the conquest of England, was to " carry 
off the Warwick vase ;" as Denon, who too had spoiled the 
I^gyptians, told Sir E. Tomason. We English, whose shops, 

272 OFFICIAL SUSPICION. [chap. xx. 

" bursting with opulence into the streets," have not yet been 
visited, although tlie temptation is held out by royal pamphleteers, 
can scarcely enter into the feelings of those whose homes are 
still reeking with blood, and blighted by poverty. The Cas- 
tilian cat, who has been scalded, flies even from cold water. 

Some excuse, thei'efore, may be alleged in favour of Spanish 
authorities, especially in rarely visited districts, when they behold 
a strange barbarian eye peeping and peering about. Their first 
impression, as in the East, is that he may be a Frank : hence 
the shaking, quaking, and ague which comes over them. At 
Seville, Granada, and places where foreign artists are somewhat 
more plentiful, the processes of drawing may be passed over 
with pity and contempt, but in lonely localities the star-gazing 
observer is himself the object of argus-eyed, official observation. 
He is, indeed, as unconscious of the portentous emotions and ill- 
omened fears which he is exciting, as was the innocent crow of 
the meanings attached to his movements by the Roman augurs, 
and few augurs of old ever rivalled the Spanish alcaldes of 
to-day in quick suspicion and perception of evil, especially where 
none is intended. Witness what actually occurred to three ex- 
cellent friends of ours. 

The readers of Sorrow's inimitable ' Bible in Spain ' will re- 
member his hair-breadth escape from being shot for Don Carlos 
by tlie miraculous intervention of the alcalde of Corcubion, who, 
if still alive, must be a phoenix, and clearly worth observation, 
as lie was a reader of the " grand Baintham," or our illustrious 
Jeremy Bentham, to whom the Spanish reformers sent for a 
paper constitution, not having a very clear meaning of the word 
or thing, whether it was made of cotton or parchment. Another 
of the very best investigators and writers on Spain, Lord Carnar- 
von, was nearly put to death in the same districts for Don Miguel ; 
Captain Widdrington, also one of the kindest and most honour- 
able of men, was once arrested on suspicion of being an agent of 
Espartero ; and we, our humble selves, have had the felicity of 
being marched to a guard -house for sketching a Roman ruin, 
and the honour of being taken, either for Curius Dentatus, an 
alligator, or Julius Caesar,— as there is no absurdity, no incon- 
ceivable ignorance, too great for the local Spanish " Dogberries," 
who rarely deviate into sense ; when their fears or suspicions are 


roused, they are as deaf alike to the dictates of common reason or 
humanity as adders or Berbers ; and liere, as in the East, even the 
best intentioned may be taken up for spies, and have their beards, 
at least, cut off, as was done to King David's envoyes. All 
classes, in regard to strangers, generally get some hostile notions 
into their heads, and then, instead of fairly and reasonably endea- 
vouring to arrive at the truth, pervert every innocent word, and 
twist every action, to suit their own preconceived nonsense, until 
trifles become to their jealous minds proofs as strong as Holy 
Writ. In justice, however, it must be said, that when these 
authorities are once satisfied that the stranger is an Englishman, 
and that no harm is intended, no people can be more civil in 
offering assistance of every kind, especially the lower classes, 
who gaze at the magical performance of drawing with wonder : 
the higher classes seldom take any notice, partly from courtesy, 
and much from the nil admirari principle of Orientals, which 
conceals both inferiority and ignorance, and shows good breeding. 
The drawing any garrison-town or fortified place in Spain is 
now most strictly forbidden. The prevailing ignorance of 
everything connected with the arts of design is so great, that 
no distinction is made between the most regular plan and the 
merest artistical sketch : a drawing is with them a drawing, and 
punishable as such. A Spanish barrack, garrison, or citadel is 
therefore to be observed but little, and still less to be sketched. 
A gentleman, nay, a lady also, is liable, under any circumstances, 
when drawing, to be interrupted, and often is exposed to arrest 
and incivility. Indeed, whether an artist or not, it is as well 
not to exhibit any curiosity in regard to matters connected with 
military buildings ; nor will the loss be great, as they are seldom 
worth looking at. The troops in our time were in a most ad- 
mired disorder. If they wore shoes they had no stockings ; if 
they had muskets, flints were not plentiful ; if powder was sup- 
plied, balls were scarce ; nothing, in short, was ever according 
to regulation. Nay, the buttons even on the oflficers' coats were 
never dressed in file : some had the numbers up, some down, 
some awry ; but uniformity is a thing of Europe and not of the 
East. At this moment, when the cliurch is starved, when 
widows' pensions are unpaid, when governmental bankruptcy 
walks the land, whose bones, marrow, and all are wasted to sup- 


port the army, whose swords uphold the hated men in office, 
the bands of the Royal Guard, the Prsetorian bands, do not 
keep tune, nor do the rank and file march in time. However 
painful these things to pipe-clay martinets, the artist loses much, 
by not being able to sketch such tumble-down forts and ragged 
garrisons, each JBisoiio of which is more precious to painter eye 
than the officer in command at Windsor ; while his short-petti- 
coated querida is more Murillo-like than a score of patronesses 
of Almack's. 

The safest plan for those who want to observe, and to book 
what they observe, is to obtain a Spanish passport, with the 
object of their curiosity and inquiries clearly specified in it. 
There is seldom any difficulty at Madrid, if application be made 
through the English minister, in obtaining such a document ; 
indeed, when the applicant is well known, it is readily given by 
any of the provincial Captains-General. As it is couched in the 
Spanish language, it is understood by all, high and low ; an ad- 
vantage which is denied in Spain to those issued by our ambas- 
sadors, and even by the Foreign Office, who, to the credit of 
themselves and nation, give passes to Englishmen in the French 
language, whereby among Spaniards a suspicion arises that the 
bearer may be a Frenchman, which is not always pleasant. We 
preserve among rare Peninsular relics a passport gi-anted by our 
kind patron the redoubtable Conde de Espaiia, and backed by 
the no less formidable Quesada and Sarsfield, in which it was 
enjoined, in choice, intelligible Castilian, to all and every minor 
rulers and governors, whether with the pen or sword, to aid and 
assist the bearer in his examination of the fine arts and antiquities 
of the Peninsula. These autocrats were more implicitly obeyed 
in their respective Lord Lieutenancies than Ferdinand himself; 
in fact, the pashas of the East are their exact types, each in 
their district being the heads of both civil and military tribunals ; 
and as they not only administer, but suit the law according to the 
length of tlieir own feet, tliey in fact make it and trample upon 
it, and all in any authority below them imitate their superiors as 
nearly as they dare. These things of Spain are managed with a 
gravity truly Oriental, both in the rulers and in the resignation 
of those ruled by them ; these great men's passport and sig- 
nature were obeyed by all minor authorities as implicitly as an 


Oriental firman ; the very fact of a stranger having a Captain- 
General's passport, is soon known by everybody, and, to use an 
Oriental phrase, " makes his face to be vvliitened ;" it acts as a 
letter of introduction, and is in truth the best one of all, since it 
is addressed to people in power in each village or town, who, 
true sheikiis, are looked up to by all below them witli the same 
deference, as they themselves look up to all above them. The 
worth of a person recommended, is estimated by that of the 
person who recommends ; tal recomendacion tal recomendado. 
To complete this thing of Oriental Spain, these three omni- 
potent despots, who defied laws human and divine, who made 
dice of their enemies' bones, and gobiets of their skulls, have all 
since been assassinated, and sent to their account with all their 
sins on their heads. In limited monarchies ministers who go 
too far, lose their places, in Spain and Turkey their heads : the 
former, doubtless, are the most severely punished. 

Those who wish to observe Spanish man, Avhich, next to 
Spanish woman, forms the proper study of mankind, will find 
that one key to decipher this singular people is scarcely Euro- 
pean, for this Berheria Cristiana is a neutral ground placed 
between the hat and the turban ; many indeed of themselves 
contend that Africa begins even at the Pyrenees. Be that as it 
may, Spain, first civilized by the Phoenicians, and long possessed 
by the Moors, has indelibly retained the original impressions. 
Test her, therefore, and her males and females, by an Oriental 
standard, how analogous does much appear that is strange and 
repugnant, if compared with European usages. Take care, how- 
ever, not to let either the ladies or gentlemen know the hidden 
processes of your mind, for nothing gives greater offence. The 
fair sex is willing, to prevent such a mistake, to lay aside even 
their becoming mantillas, as their hidalgos doff their stately 
Roman cloaks. These old clothes they offer up as sacrifices on 
the altar of civilization, and to the mania of looking exactly like 
the rest of the woild, in Hyde Park and the Elysian Fields. 

Another remarkable Oriental trait is the general want of love 
for the beautiful in art, and the abundance of that AcpiXvKuXia 
with which the ancients reproached the genuine Iberians ; this 
is exhibited in the general neglect and indifl:erence shown towards 
Moorish works, which instead of destroying they ought rather to 


have protected under glasses, since such attractions are pecu- 
liar to the Peninsula. The Alhambra, the pearl and magnet 
of Granada, is in their estimation little better thin a casa de 
ratones, or a rat's hole, which in truth they have endeavoured 
to make it by centuries of neglect ; few natives even go there, 
or understand the all-absorbing interest, the concentrated devo- 
tion, which it excites in the stranger ; so the Bedouin regards the 
ruins of Palmyra, insensible to present beauty, as to past poetry and 
romance. Sad is this non-appreciation of the Alhambra by the 
Spaniards, but such are Asiatics, with whom sutficient for the 
A-d.^ Vi their to-day ; who care neither for the past nor for the 
future, who think only for the present and themselves, and like 
them the masses of Spaniards, although not wearing turbans, 
lack the organs of veneration and admiration for anything 
beyond matters connected with the first person and the pi'esent 
tense. Again, the leaven of hatred against the IMoor and his relics 
is not extinct ; they resent as almost heretical the preference 
shown by foreigners to the works of infidels rather than to 
those of good Catholics ; such preference again at once implies 
their inferiority, and convicts them of bad taste in their 
non-appreciation, and of Vandalism in labouring to mutilate, 
what the Moor laboured to adorn. The charming wTitings of 
Washington Irving, and the admiration of European pilgrims, 
have latterly shamed the authorities into a somewhat more con- 
servative feeling towards the Alhambra ; but even their benefits 
are questionable; they " repair and beautify " on the church- 
warden principle, and there is no less danger in such " restora- 
tions " than in those fatal scourings of Murillo and Titian in the 
Madrid gallery, which are effacing the lines where beauty lingers. 
Even their tardy appreciation is somewhat interested : thus 
Mellado, in his late Guide, laments that there should be no 
account of the Alhambra, of which he speaks coldly, and suggests, 
as so many " English " visit it. that a descriptive work would 
be a segiira especulacion I a safe speculation ! Thus the poetry 
of the Moorish Alhambra is coined into the Spanish prose of 
profitable shillings and sixpences. 

Travellers however should not forget, that much which to 
them has the ravishing, enticing charms of novelty, is viewed 
by the dull sated eye of the native, with familiarity which breeds 


contempt ; they are weary, oh fatal lassitude ! even of the beau- 
tiful : alas ! exclaimed the hermit on Monserrat, to the stranger 
who was ravished by exquisite views, then and there beheld by 
him for the first and last time, " all this has no attraction for 
me ; twenty and nine are the years tliat I have seen this unchanged 
scene, every sunrise, every noon, every sunset." But sordent 
domestica, observes Pliny, nor ai"e all things or persons honoured 
in their own homes as tliey ought to be, since the days that IMa- 
homet the true prophet failed to persuade his wife and valet that 
his powers were supernatural. Can it be wondered that ruins and 
" old rubbish " sliould be held cheap among the Moro-Spaniards ? 
or that their so-called " guides" should mislead and misdirect the 
stranger? It cannot well be avoided, since few of the writers 
ever travel in their own country, and fewer travel out of it ; 
thus from their limited means of comparison, they cannot appre- 
ciate differences, nor tell what are the wants and wishes of a 
foreigner : accordingly, scenes, costumes, ruins, usages, cere- 
monies, &c., which they have known from childhood, are passed 
over without notice, although, from their passing newness to the 
stranger, they are exactly what he most desires to have pointed 
out and explained. Nay, the natives frequently despise or are 
ashamed of those very things, which most interest and charm 
the foreigner, for whose observation they select the modern 
rather than the old, offering especially their poor pale copies 
of Europe, in preference to their own rich, racy, and natural 
originals, doing this in nothing more than in the costume and 
dwellings of tiie lower classes, who happily are not yet afflicted 
with the disease of French polish : they indeed, when they dig 
up ancient coins, will rub off the precious rust of twice ten 
hundred years, in order to render them, as they imagine, more 
saleably attractive ; but they fortunately spare tliemselves, inso- 
much that Charles III., on failing in one of his laudable attempts 
to improve and modernise them, compared his loving subjects to 
naughty children, who quarrel with their good nurse when she 
wants to wash them. 

Again, no country in the world can vie with Spain, where the 
dry climate at least is conservative, with memorials of auld lang 
syne, with tower and turret, Prout-like houses and toppling 
balconies, so old that they seem only not to fall into the torrents 


278 WANT OF INFORMATION. [chap, xx, 

and ravines over which they hang. Here is every form and 
colour of picturesque poverty ; vines clamber up the irregulari- 
ties, while below naiads dabble, washing their red and yellow 
garments in the all-gilding glorious sun-beams. What a picture 
it is to all but the native, who sees none of the wonders of lights 
and shadows, reflections, colours, and outlines ; who, blind to 
all the beauties, is keenly awake only to tlie degradation, the rags 
and decay ; he half suspects that your sketch and admiration of 
a smuggler or bullfighter is an insult, and tliat you are taking 
it, in order to show in England what Mons. Guizot will never 
be forgiven for calling the " brutal " things of Spain ; accord- 
ingly, while you are sincerely and with reason delighted with 
sashes and Zamarras, he begs you to observe his ridiculous 
Boulevard-cut coat : or when you sit down opposite to a half- 
ruined Roman wall, some crumbling Moorish arch, or mediaeval 
Gothic shrine, he implores you to come away and draw the last 
spick and span Royal Academical abortion, coldly correct and 
classically dull, in order to carry home a sample which may do 
credit to Spain, as approximating to the way things are managed 
at Ciiaring Cross. 

Without implicitly following the advice of these Spaniards of 
better intention than taste, no man of research will undervalue 
any assistance by which his objects are promoted, even should 
he be armed Avith a captain-general's passport, and a red Mur- 
ray. Meagre is the oral information which is to be obtained from 
Spaniards on the spot ; these incurious semi-Orientals look with 
jealousy on the foreigner, and either fence with him in their 
answers, raise difficulties, or, being highly imaginative, magnify 
or diminish everytliing as best suits their own views and sus- 
picions. The national expressions " Quien sale? no se sahe" — 
"who knows? 1 do not know," will often be the prelude to 
"iVo se puede" — " it can't be done." 

These impediments and impossibilities are infinitely increased 
when the stranger has to do with men in office, be it ever so 
humble ; the first feeling of these Dogberries is to suspect mischief 
and give refusals. " No " may be assumed to be their natural 
answer ; nor even if you have a special order of permission, is ad- 
mission by any means certain. The keeper, who here as elsewhere, 
considers the objects committed to his care as his own private pre- 


perty and source of perquisite, must be conciliated : often when 
you have toiled through tlie heat and dust to some distant cliurch, 
museum, library, or what not, after much ringing and waiting, 
you will be drily informed that it is shut, can't be seen, that it 
is the wrong day, that you must call again to-morrow ; and if it 
be the right day, then you will be told that the hour is wrong, 
that you are come too early, too late ; very likely the keeper's wife 
will inform you that he is out, gone to mass, or market, or at his 
dinner, or at his siesta, or if he is at home and awake, he will swear 
that his wife has mislaid the key, " which she is always doing." If 
all these and other excuses won't do, and you persevere, you will be 
assured that there is nothing worth seeing, or you will be asked why 
you want to see it ? As a general rule, no one should be deterred 
from visiting anything, because a Spaniard of the upper classes 
gives his opinion that the object is beneath notice ; he will try to 
convince you that Toledo, Cuenca, and other places which cannot 
be matched in Christendom, are ugly, odious, old cities ; he is 
ashamed of them because the tortuous, narrow lanes do not run in 
rows as straight as Pall Mall and the Kue de Rivoli. In fact his 
only notion of a civilized town is a common-place assemblage 
of rectangular wide streets, all built and coloured uniformly, like 
a line of foot-soldiers, paved with broad flags, and lighted with 
gas, on which Spaniards can walk about dressed as English- 
men, and Spanish women like those of France; all of which said 
wonders a foreigner may behold far better nearer home ; nor is 
it much less a waste of time to go and see what the said Spaniard 
considers to be a real lion, since the object generally turns out 
to be some poor imitation, without form, angle, history, nation- 
ality, colour, or expression, beyond that of utilitarian comfort 
and common-place convenience — great advantages no doubt both 
to contractors and political economists, but death and destruc- 
tion to men of the pencil and note-book. 

The sound principles in Spanish sight-seeing are few and 
simple, but, if observed, they will generally prove successful ; 
first, persevere ; never be put back ; never take an answer if it be 
in the negative ; never lose temper or courteous manners ; and 
lastly, let the tinkle of metal be heard at once ; if the chief or 
great man be inexorable, find out privately who is the wretched 
sub who keeps the key, or the crone who sweeps the room ; and 

u 2 

280 HOW TO BE ADMITTED. [chap. xx. 

then send a discreet messenger to say that you will pay to be 
admitted, without mentioning " nothing to nobody." Thus you 
will always obtain your view, even when an official order fails. 
On our first arrival at Madrid, when but young in these things 
of Spain, we were desirous of having daily permission to examine 
a royal gallery, which was only open to the public on certain 
days in tlie week. In our grave dilemma we consulted a sage 
and experienced diplomatist, and this was the oracular reply : — 
" Certainly, if you wish it, I will make a request to Seiior 
Salmon (the then Home Secretary), " and beg him to give you 
the proper order, as a personal favour to myself By the way, 
how much longer shall you remain here ?" — " From three to four 
weeks." — " Well, then, after you have been gone a good month, 
I shall get a courteous and verbose epistle from his Excellency, 
in which he will deeply regret that, on searching the archives of 
his office, there was no instance of such a request having ever 
been granted, and that he is compelled most reluctantly to return 
a refusal, from the fear of a precedent being created. My advice 
to you is to give the porter a dollar, to be repeated whenever the 
door-hinges seem to be getting rusty and require oiling." The 
hint was taken, as was the bribe, and the prohibited portals ex- 
panded so regularly, that at last they knew the sound of our 
footsteps. Gold is the Spanish sesame. Thus Soult got into 
Badajoz, tlms Louis Philippe put Espartero out, and Montpen- 
sier in. Gold, bright red gold, is the sovereign remedy which in 
Spain smootlis all difficulties, nay, some in which even force 
has failed, as here the obstinate heads may be guided by a 
straw of bullion, but not driven by a bar of iron. Tlie magic 
influence of a bribe pervades a land, where everything is venal, 
even to the scales of justice. Here men who have objects to 
gain begin to work from the bottom, not from the top, as we do 
in England. In order to ensure success, no step in the official 
ladder must be left unanointed. A wise and prudent suitor 
bribes from the porter to the premier, taking care not to forget 
the under-secretary, the over-secretary, the private secretary, 
all in their order, and to regulate the douceur according to each 
man's rank and influence. If you omit the porter, he will not 
deliver your card, or will say Seiior Mon is out, or will tell you 
to call again manana, the eternal to-morrow. If you forget the 


chief clerk, he will mislay j-^our petition, or poison his master's 
ear. In matters of great and political importance, the sovereign, 
him or herself, must have a share ; and thus it was tiiat Calo- 
marde continued so long to manage the beloved Ferdinand and 
his counsels. He was the minister who laid the greatest bribe at 
the royal feet. " Sire, by strict attention and honesty, I have 
just been enabled to economise 50,000/., on the sums allotted to 
my department, which I have now the honour atid felicity to 
place at your Majesty's disposal." — " Well done, my faithful and 
good minister, here is a cigar for you." This Calomarde, who 
began life as a foot-boy, smuggled through the Chi istiiiist swindle, 
by which Isabel now wears the crown of Don Carlos. The 
rogue was rewarded by being made Conde de So- Isabel, a title 
which since has been conferred on Mons. Bresson's baby — a deli- 
cate compliment to his sire's labours in the transfer of the said 
crown to Louis Philippe — but Spaniards are full of dry humour. 
In the East, the example and practice of the Sultan and Vizier 
is followed by every pacha, down to the lowest animal who wields 
the most petty authority ; the disorder of the itching palm is 
endemic and epidemic, all, whether high and low, want, and must 
have money ; all wish to get it without the disgrace of begging, 
and without the danger of highway robbery. Public poverty is 
the curse of the land, and all empleados or persons in office excuse 
themselves on dire necessity, the old plea of a certain gentleman, 
which has no law. Some allowance, therefore, may be made for 
the rapacity which, with very few exceptions, prevails ; the 
regular salaries, always inadequate, are generally in arrear, and 
the public servants, poor devils, swear that they are forced to 
pay themselves by conniving at defrauding the government ; this 
few scruple to do, as all know it to be an unjust one, and that it 
can afford it ; indeed, as all are offenders alike, the guilt of the 
offence is scarcely admitted. Where robbing and jobbing are 
the universal order of the day, one rascal keeps another in coun- 
tenance, as one goitre does another in Switzerland. A man who 
does not feather his nest when in place, is not thought honest, but 
a fool ; es precise, que cada uno comd de su qficio. It is necessary, 
nay, a duty, as in the East, that all should live by their office ; 
and as office is short and insecure, no time or means is neglected 

282 SPANISH IGNORANCE. [chap. xx. 

in making up a purse ; thus poverty and their Avill alike and 
readily consent. 

Take a case in point. We remember calling on a Spaniard 
who held the highest office in a chief city of Andalucia. As we 
came into his cabinet a cloaked personage was going out ; the 
great man's table was covered with gold ounces, which lie was 
shovelling complacently into a drawer, gloating on the glorious 
haul. " Many ounces, Excellency," said we. " Yes, my friend," 
was his reply — " no quiero comer mas patatas, — I do not intend 
to dine any more on potatoes." This gentleman, during the 
Sistema, or Riego constitution, had, with other loyalists, been 
turned out of office ; and, having been put to the greatest hard- 
ships, was losing no time in taking prudent and laudable pre- 
cautions to avert any similar calamity for the future. His prac- 
tices were perfectly well known in the town, where people simply 
observed, " Estd atesorando, he is laying up treasures," — as every 
one of them would most certainly have done, had they been in 
his fortunate position. Rich and honest Britons, therefore, should 
not judge too hardly of the sad shifts, the strange bed-fellows, 
with which want makes the less provided Spaniards acquainted. 
Donde no hay abimdancia, no hay observancia. The empty sack 
cannot stand upright, nor was ever a sack made in Spain into 
which gain and honour could be stowed away together ; honra y 
provecho, no caben en un saco o techo ; here virtue itself suc- 
cumbs to poverty, induced by more than half a century of mis- 
government, let alone tiie ruin caused by Buonaparte's invasion, 
to which domestic troubles and civil wars have been added. 

To return, however, to sight-seeing in Spain. Lucky was the 
traveller prepared even to bribe and pay, who ever in our time 
chanced to fall in with a librarian who knew what books he had, 
or with a priest who could tell what pictures were in his chapel ; 
ask him for the painting by Murillo — a shoulder-shrug was his 
reply, or a curt " no hay" " there is none ;" had you inquired 
for the " blessed Saint Thomas," then he might have pointed it 
out ; the subject, not the artist, being all tliat was required for 
the service of the church. An incurious bliss of isjnorance is no 
less grateful to the Spanish mind, than the dotce far niente or 
sweet indolent doing nothing is to the body. All that gives 


trouble, or " fashes," destroys the supreme height of felicitj", 
which consists in avoiding exertion. A chapter might be filled 
with instances, which, had they not occurred to our humble 
selves, would seem caricature inventions. The not to be able to 
answer the commonest question, or to give any information as to 
matters of the most ordinary daily occurrence, is so prevalent, 
that we at first thought it must proceed from some fear of com- 
mittal, some remnant of inquisitorial engendered reserve, rather 
than from bonS, fide careless and contented ignorance. The 
result, however, of much intercourse and experience arrived at, 
was, that few people are more communicative than the lower 
classes of Spaniards, especially to an Englishman, to whom they 
reveal private and family secrets: tlieir want of knowledge 
applies rather to things than to persons. 

If you called on a Spanish gentleman, and, finding him out, 
wished afterwards to write him a note, and inquired of his man 
or maid servant the number of the house; — "I do not know, my 
lord," was the invariable answer, " I never was asked it before, I 
have never looked for it : let us go out and see. Ah ! it is 
number 36." AVishing once to send a parcel by the wagon from 
Merida to Madrid, " On what day, my lord," said I to the pot- 
bellied, black-whiskered ventero, " does your galera start for the 
Court ?" "Every Wednesday," answered he ; " and let not your 
grace be anxious" — ^'•Disparate — nonsense," exclaimed his copper- 
skinned, bright-eyed wife, " why do you tell the English knight 
such lies? the wagon, my lord, sets out on Fridays." During 
the logomachy, or the few words which ensued between the well- 
matched pair, our good luck willed, that the mayoral or driver of 
the vehicle should come in, who forthwith informed us that the 
days of departure were Thursdays ; and he was right. This 
occurred in the provinces ; take, therefore, a parallel passage in 
the capital, the heart and brain of the Castiles. " Serior, tenga 
listed la hondad — My lord," said I to a portly, pompous 
bureaucrat, who booked places in the dilly to Toledo, — " have 
the goodness, your grace, to secure me one for Monday, the Ith." 
— " I fear," replied he, politely, for the negocio had been pru- 
dently opened by my off'ering him a real Havannah, " that your 
lordship has made a mistake in the date. Monday is the 8th of the 
current month" — which it was not. Thinking to settle the matter, 


we handed to him, with a bow, tlie almanack of the year, which 
chanced to be in our pocket-book. '■'■Senor" said he, gravely, 
when he had duly examined it, " I knew that I was right ; this 
one was printed at Seville," — which it was — " and we are here 
at Madrid, which is otra cosa, that is, altogether another affair." 
In this solar difference and pre-eminence of the Court, it must be 
remembered, that the sun, at its creation, first shone over the 
neighbouring city, to which the dilly ran ; and that even in the 
last century, it was held to be heresy at Salamanca, to say that it 
did not move round Spain. In sad truth, it has there stood still 
longer than in astronomical lectures or metaphors. Spain is no 
paradise for calculators; here, what ought to happen, and what 
would happen elsewhere according to Cocker and the doctrine pro- 
babilities, is exactly the event which is the least likely to come to 
pass. One arithmetical fact only can be reckoned upon with tole- 
rable certainty : let given events be represented by numbers ; then 
two and two may at one time make three, or possibly five at an- 
other ; but the odds are four to one against two and two ever 
making four ; another safe rule in Spanish official numbers ; e. g. 
" five thousand men killed and wounded " — " five thousand dollars 
will be given," and so forth, is to deduct two noughts, and some- 
times even three, and read fifty or five instead. 

Well might even the keen-sighted, practical Duke say it is 
difiicult to understand the Spaniards exactly ; there neither men 
nor women, suns nor clocks go together ; there, as in a Dutch 
concert, all choose their own tune and time, each performer in the 
orchestra endeavouring to play the first fiddle. All this is so 
much a matter of course, that the natives, like the Irish, make 
a joke of petty mistakes, blunders, unpunctualities, inconse- 
quences, and pococurantisms, at which accurate Geimans and 
British men of business are driven frantic. Made up of contra- 
dictions, and dwelling in the pays de Vimprevu, where exception 
is the rule, where accident and the impulse of the moment are 
the moving powers, the happy-go-lucky natives, especially in 
their collective capacity, act like women and children. A spark, 
a trifle, sets the impressionable masses in action, and none can 
foresee the commonest event ; nor does any Spaniard ever 
attempt to guess beyond la situacion actual^ the actual present, 
or to foretell what the morrow will bring ; that he leaves to the 


foreigner, who does not understand him. Paciencia y barajar is 
his motto ; and he waits patiently to see what next will turn up 
after another shuffle. 

There is one thing, however, which all know exactly, one 
question which all can answer ; and providentially this refers to 
the grand object of every foreigner's observation — " When will 
the bull-fight be and begin ?" and this holds good, notwithstanding 
that there is a proviso inserted in the notices, that it will come otf 
on such a day and hour, " if the weather permits." Thus, although 
these spectacles take place in summer, when for months and 
months rain and clouds are matters of history, the cautious 
authorities doubt the blessed sun himself, and mistrust the cer- 
tainty of his proceedings, as much as if they were ir-regulated by 
a Castilian clockmaker. 

286 THE SPANISH BULL-FIGHT. [chap. xxi. 


Origin of the Bull-fight or Festival, and its Eeligious Character— Fiestas 
Reales — Royal Feasts — Charles I. at one — Discontinuance of the Old 
System — Sham Bull-fights — Plaza de Toros — Slang Language — Spanish 
Bulls— Breeds— The Going to a Bull-fight. 

OnR honest John Bulls have long been more partial to their 
Spanish namesakes, than even to those perpetrated by the Pope, 
or made in the Emerald Isle ; to see a bull-fight has been the 
emphatic object of enlightened curiosity, since Peninsular 
sketches have been taken and published by our travellers. No 
sooner had Charles the First, when prince, lost his heart at 
Madrid, than his royal father-in-law-that-was-to-be, regaled him 
and the fair inspirer of his tender passion, with one of these 
charming spectacles ; an event which, as many men and animals 
were butchered, was thought by the historiographers of the day 
to be one that posterity would not willingly let die ; their con- 
temporary accounts will ever form the gems of every tauroma- 
chian library that aspires to be complete. 

These sports, which recall the bloody games of the Roman 
amphitheatre, are now only to be seen in Spain, where the 
present clashes with tlie past, where at every moment we stumble 
on some bone and relic of Biblical and Roman antiquity ; the 
close parallels, nay the identities, which are observable between 
these combats and those of classical ages, both as regards the 
spectators and actors, are omitted, as being more interesting to 
the scholar than to the general reader ; they were pointed out by 
us some years ago in the Quarterly Review, No. cxxiv. And 
as human nature changes not, men when placed in given and 
similar circumstances, will without any previous knowledge or 
intercommunication arrive at nearly similar results; the gentle 
pastime of spearing and killing bulls in public and single-handed 
was probably devised by the Moors, or rather by tlie Spanish 
Moors, for nothing of the kind has ever obtained in Africa 


either now or heretofore. The Moslem Arab, when transplanted 
into a Christian and European land, modified himself in many 
respects to the ways and usages of the people among whom he 
settled, just as his Oriental element was widely introduced 
among his Gotho-Hispano neighbours. Moorish Andalucia is 
still the head -quarters of the tauromachian art, and those who 
wish carefully to master this, the science of Spain par excellence, 
should commence tlieir studies in the school of Eonda, and 
proceed thence to take the highest honours in the University of 
Seville, the Bullford of the Peninsula. 

By the way, our boxing, baiting term h\\\}i-fight is a very lay 
and low translation of the time-honoured Castilian title, Fiestas de 
To7-os, the feasts, festivals of bulls. The gods and goddesses of 
antiquity were conciliated by the sacrifice of hecatombs ; the 
lowing tickled their divine ears, and the purple blood fed their 
eyes, no less than the roasted sii-loins fattened the priests, while 
the grand spectacle and death delighted their dinnerless congre- 
gations. In Spain, the Church of Rome, never indifferent to its 
interests, instantly marshalled into its own service a ceremonial 
at once profitable and popular ;* it consecrated butchery by 
wedding it to the altar, availing itself of this gentle handmaid, 
to obtain funds in order to raise convents ; even in the last century 
Papal bulls were granted to mendicant orders, authorising them 
to celebrate a certain number of Fiestas de Tows, on condition 
of devoting the profit to finishing their church ; and in order to 
swell the receipts at the doors, spiritual indulgences and soul 
releases from purgatory, the number of years being apportioned to 
the relative prices of the seats, were added as a bonus to all paid 
for places at a spectacle hallowed by a pious object. So at the 
taurobolia of antiquity, those who were sprinkled with bull 
blood were absolved from sin. Protestant ministers, who very 
properly fear and distrust papal bulls, replace them by bazaars 
and fancy fairs, whenever a fashionable chapel requires a new 
blue slate roofing. Again, when not devoted to religious pur- 

* The love for killing oxen still prevails at Rome, where the ambition of 
the lower orders to be a butcher, is, like their white costume, a remnant of 
the honourable office of killing at the Pagan sacrifices. In Spain tmtchers 
are of the lowest caste, and cannot prove " purity of blood." Francis I. 
never forgave the " Becajo de Parigi" applied by Daute to his ancestor. 

288 FIESTAS REALES. [chap. xxi. 

poses, every bull-fight aids the cause of charity ; the profits form 
the chief income of the public hospitals, and thus furnish both 
funds and patients, as tlie venous circulation of the mob thirsting 
for gore, rises to blood heat under a sun of fire, and the subsequent 
mingling of sexes, opening of bottles and knives, occasion more 
deaths among the lords and ladies of the Spanish creation, than 
among the horned and hoofed victims of the ampliitheatre. 

It is a common but very great mistake, to suppose that bull- 
fights are as numerous in Spain as bandits ; it is just the con- 
trary, for this may there be considered the tip-top aesthetic treat, 
as the Italian Opera is in England, and both are rather expensive 
amusements; true it is that with us, only the salt of the earth 
patronises the performers of the Haymarket, while high and low, 
vulgar and exquisite, alike delight in those of the Spanish fields. 
Each bull-fight costs from 200/. to 300/., and even more when got 
up out of Andalucia or Madrid, which alone can aflTord to support 
a standing company ; in other cities the actors and animals have 
to be sent for express, and from great distances. Hence the 
representations occur like angels' visits, few and far between ; 
thev are reserved for tlie chief festivals of the church and crown, 
for the unfeigned devotion of the faithful on the holy days of 
local saints, and the Virgin ; they are also given at the mar- 
riages and coronations of the sovereign, and thence are called 
Fiestas reales. Royal festivals — the ceremonial being then de- 
prived of its religious character, although it is much increased 
in worldly and imposing importance. The sight is indeed one 
of surpassing pomp, etiquette, and magnificence, and has suc- 
ceeded to the Auto de Fe^ in offering to the most Catholic Queen 
and her subjects the greatest possible means of tasting rapture, 
that the limited powers of mortal enjoyment can experience in 
this world of shadows and sorrows. 

They are only given at Madrid, and then are conducted en- 
tirely after the ancient Spanish and Moorish customs, of which 
such splendid descriptions remain in the ballad romances. Thev 
take place in the great square of the capital, which is then con- 
verted into an arena. Tlie windows of the quaint and lofty 
houses are arranged as boxes, and hung with velvets and silks. 
The royal family is seated under a canopy of state in the balcony 
of the central mansion. There we beheld Ferdinand VII. pre- 


siding at the solemn swearing of allegiance to his daughter. He 
was then seated where Charles I. had sat two centuries before ; 
he was guarded by the unchanged halberdiers, and was witnessing 
the unchanged spectacle. On these royal occasions the bulls are 
assailed by gentlemen, dressed and armed as in good old Spanish 
times, before the fatal Bourbon accession obliterated Castilian 
costume, customs, and nationality. The champions, clad in the 
fashions of the Philips, and mounted on beauteous barbs, the 
minions of their race, attack the fierce animal with only a short 
spear, the immemorial weapon of the Iberian. The combatants 
must be hidalgos by birth, and have each for a padrino, or god- 
father, a first-rate grandee of Spain, who passes before royalty in 
a splendid equipage and six, and is attended by bands of running 
footmen, who are arrayed either as Greeks, Romans, Moors, or 
fancy characters. It is not easy to obtain these caballeros en 
plaza, or poor knights, who are willing to expose their lives to 
the imminent dangers, albeit during the fight they have the 
benefit of experienced toreros to advise their actions and cover 
their retreats. 

In 1833 a gentle dame, without the privity of her lord and 
husband, inscribed his name as one of the champion volunteers. 
In procuring him this agreeable surprise, she, so it was said in 
Madrid, argued thus: ^^ YAihev mi marido wiW be killed — in that 
case I shall get a new husband ; or he will survive, in which event 
he will get a pension." She failed in both of these admirable cal- 
culations — such is tlie uncertainty of human events. The terror 
of this poor h'eros malgre lui, on whom chivalry had been thrust, 
was absolutely ludicrous when exposed by his well-intentioned 
better-half, to the horns of this dilemma and bull. Any other 
horns, my dearest, but these ! He was wounded at tiie first 
rush, did survive, and did not ^et a pension ; for Ferdinand 
died soon after, and few pensions have been paid in the Penin- 
sula, since the land has been blessed witli a charte, constitution, 
liberty, and a representative government. 

One anecdote, where another lady is in the case, may be new 
to our fair readers. We quote from an ancient autlientic 
chronicler : — " It will not be amiss here to mention wliat fell 
out in the presence of Charles the First of Blessed Memory, who, 
while Prince of Wales, repaired to the court of Spain, whether 

290 CHAELES I. AT A BULL-FIGHT. [chap. xxi. 

to be married to the Infanta, or upon what other design, I cannot 
well determine : liowever, all comedies, playes, and festivals (this 
of the bulls at Madrid being included), were appointed to be as 
decently and magnificently gone about as possible, for the more 
sumptuous and stately entertainment of such a splendid prince. 
Therefore, after three bulls had been killed, and the fourth a 
coming forth, there appeared four gentlemen in good equipage ; 
not long after, a brisk lady, in most gorgeous apparel, attended 
with persons of quality, and some three or four grooms, walked 
all along the square a-foot. Astonishment seized upon the be- 
holders, that one of the female sex could assume the unheard 
boldness of exposing herself to the violence of the most furious 
beast yet seen, which had overcome, yea almost killed, two men 
of great strength, courage, and dexterity. Incontinently the 
bull rushed towards the corner where the lady and her attendants 
stood ; she (after all had fled) drew forth her dagger very un- 
concernedly, and thrust it most dexterously into the bull's neck, 
having catched hold of his horn ; by which stroak, without 
any more troidole, her design was brought to perfection ; after 
which, turning about towards the king's balcony, slie made 
her obeysance, and vt'ithdrew herself in suitable state and 

At the jura of 1833 ninety-nine bulls were massacred ; had 
one more been added the hecatomb would have been complete. 
These wholesale slaughterings have this year been repeated at 
the marriage of the same " innocent " Isabel, the critical events 
of whose life are death-warrants to quadrupeds. Bulls, however, 
represent in Spain the coronation banquets of England. In that 
hungry, ascetic land, bulls have always been killed, but no beef 
eaten ; a remarkable fact, which did not escape tlie learned 
Justin in his remarks on the no-dinner-giving crowned heads of 
old Iberia. 

These genuine ancient bull-fights were perilous and fatal in 
the extreme, yet knights were never wanting — valour being the 
point of honour — who readily exposed their lives in sight of their 
cruel mistresses. To kill the monster if not killed by him, was, 
before the time of Hudibras, the sure road to women's love, who 
very properly admire those qualities the best, in which they feel 
themselves to be the most deficient : — 


" The ladies' hearts began to melt, 
Subdued by blows their lovers felt ; 
So Spanish heroes, with their lances, 
At once wound bulls and ladies' fancies." 

The final conquest of the Moors, and the subsequent cessation 
of the border chivalrous habits of Spaniards, occasioned these 
love-pastimes to fall into comparative disuse. The gentle Isa- 
bella was so shocked at the bull-fights which she saw at Medina 
del Campo, that she did her utmost to put them down ; but she 
strove in vain, for the game and monarchy were destined to fall 
together. The accession of Philip V. deluged the Peninsula 
with Frenchmen. The puppies of Paris pronounced the Spa- 
niards and their bulls to be barbarous and brutal, as their artistes 
to this day prefer the bcetif gras of the Boulevards to whole flocks 
of Iberian lean kine. The spectacle which had withstood her 
influence, and had beat the bulls of Popes, bowed before the des- 
potism of fashion. The periwigged courtiers deserted the arena, 
on which the royal Bourbon eye looked coldly, wliile the sturdy 
people, foes — then as now — to Frenchmen and innovations, 
clung closer to the sports of their forefathers. Yet a fatal blow 
was dealt to the combat : the art, once practised by knights, 
degenerated into the vulgar butchery of mercenary bull-fighters, 
who contended not for honour, but base lucre ; thus, by be- 
coming the game of the mob, it was soon stripped of every 
gentlemanlike prestige. So the tournament challenges of our 
chivalrous ancestors have sunk down to the vul2:ar boxing's of 
ruffian pugilists. 

Baiting a bull in any shape is irresistible to the lower orders 
of Spain, who disregard injuries to tlie bodies, and, what is 
worse, to their cloaks. The liostility to the horned beast is in- 
stinctive, and grows with their growth, until it becomes, as men 
are but children of a larger growth, a second nature. The 
young urchins in the streets play at " toro" as ours do at leap- 
frog ; they go through the whole mimic spectacle amongst each 
otiier, observing every law and rule, as our schoolboys do when 
they fight. Few adult Spaniards, when journeying thi'ough 
the country, ever pass a herd of cows without this dormant pro- 
pensity breaking out ; they provoke the animals to fight by 
waving their cloaks or capas^ a challenge hence called el capeo. 


The villagers, who cannot afford the expense of a regular bull- 
fight, amuse themselves with baiting novillos, or bull-youngsters 
— calves of one year old ; and embolados, or bulls whose horns 
are guarded with tips and buttons. These innocent pastimes are 
despised by the regular qficion, the " fancy ; " because, as nei- 
ther man nor beast are exposed to be killed, the whole affair is 
based in fiction, and impotent in conclusion. They cry out for 
Toros de muerte — bulls oi death. Nothing short of the reality 
of blood can allay their excitement. They despise the makeshift 
spectacle, as much as a true gastronome does mock-turtle, or an 
old campaigner a sham fight. 

In the wilder districts of Andalucia few cattle are ever brought 
into towns for slaughter, unless led by long ropes, and partially 
baited by those whose poverty prevents their indulgence in the 
luxury of real bull-fights and beef. The governor of Tarifa was 
wont on certain days to let a bull loose into the streets, when the 
delight of the inhabitants was to shut their doors, and behold from 
their grated windovrs the perplexities of the unwary or strangers, 
pursued by him in the narrow lanes without means of escape. 
Although many lives were lost, a governor in our time, named 
Dalmau, otherwise a public benefactor to the place, lost all his 
popularity in the vain attempt to put the custom down. When 
the Bourbon Philip V. first visited the pla^a at Madrid, all the 
populace roared. Bulls ! give us bulls, my lord. They cared little 
for the ruin of the monarchy ; so when the intrusive Joseph Buona- 
parte arrived at the same place, the only and absorbing topic of 
public talk was whether he would grant or suppress the bull- 
figlit. And now, as always, the cry of the capital is — " Pan y 
toros; bread and bulls:" these constitute the loaves and fishes of 
the " only modern court," as Panes et Circenses did of ancient 
Rome. The national scowl and frown which welcomed Mont- 
pensier at his marriage, was relaxed for one moment, when 
Spaniards beheld his well-put-on admiration for the tauroma- 
chian spectacle. Nothing, since the recent vast improvements in 
Spain, has more progressed than the bull-fight — convents have 
come down, cluirches have been levelled, but new amphitheatres 
have arisen. The diffusion of useful and entertaining knowledge, 
as the means of promoting the greatest happiness of the greatest 
number, has thus obtained the best consideration of those patriots 


and statesmen who preside over the destinies of Spain ; the bull is 
master of his ground. This last remnant and representative of 
Spanish nationality defies the foreigner and his civilization ; he 
is a, fait accompli, and tramples la charte under his feet, althougli 
the honest Roi citoyen swears that it is desorraais une ve'rite. 

In Spain there is no mistaking the day and time that the bull- 
fight takes place, which is generally on Saint Monday, and in the 
afternoon, when the mid-day heats are past. 

The arena, or Plaza, is most unlike a London Place, those 
enclosures of stunted smoke-blacked shrubs, fenced in with iron 
palisadoes to protect aristocratic nurserymaids from the mob. 
It is at once more classical and amusing. The amphitheatre of 
Madrid is very spacious, being about 1100 feet in circumference, 
and will hold 12,000 spectators. In an architectural point of 
view this ring of the model court, is shabbier than many of those in 
provincial towns : there is no attempt at orders, pilasters, and 
Vitruvian columns ; there is no adaptation of the Coliseum of 
Rome : the exterior is bald and plain, as if done so on purpose, 
while the interior is fitted up with wooden benches, and is 
scarcely better than a shambles ; but for that it was designed, 
and there is a business-like, murderous intention about it, which 
marks the ingesthetic Gotho-Spaniard, who looked for a sport of 
blood and death, and not to a display of artistical skill. He has 
no need of extraneous stimulants ; the realite atroce, as a 
tender-hearted foreigner observes, " is all-sufficing, because it 
is the recreation of the savage, and the sublime of common souls." 
The locality, however, is admirably calculated for seeing ; and this 
combat is a spectacle entirely for the eyes. The open space is 
full of the light of heaven, and here the sun is brighter than gas 
or wax-candles. The interior is as unadorned as the exterior, 
and looks positively " mesquin " when empty ; around the sanded 
centre rise rows of wooden seats for the humbler classes, and 
above them a tier of boxes for the fine ladies and gentlemen ; 
but no sooner is the theatre filled than all this meanness is con- 
cealed, and the general appearance becomes superb. 

On entering the ring when thus full, the stranger finds his watch 
put back at once eighteen hundred years ; he is transported to 
Rome under the Caesars ; and in truth the sight is glorious, of the 
assembled thousands in their Spanish costume, the novelty of 

294 BULL-FIGHT SLAJNCi. [chap, xxi. 

the spectacle, associated with our earliest classical studies, are 
enhanced by the blue expanse of the heavens, spread above as a 
canopy. There is something in these out-of-door entertainments, 
a Vardique, which peculiarly affects the shivering denizens of the 
catch-cold north, where climate contributes so little to the hap- 
piness of man. All first-rate connoisseurs go into the pit and 
place themselves among the mob, in order to be closer to the 
bulls and combatants. The real thing is to sit near one of the 
openings, which enables the fancy-man to exhibit his embroi- 
dered gaiters and neat leg. It is here that the character of the 
bull, the nice traits and the behaviour of the bull-fighter are 
scientifically criticised. The ring has a dialect peculiar to itself, 
which is unintelligible to most Spaniards themselves, while to 
the sporting-men of Andalucia it expresses their drolleries with 
idiomatic raciness, and is exactly analogous to the slang and 
technicalities of our pugilistic craft. The newspapers next day 
generally give a detailed report of the fight, in which every round 
is scientifically described in a style that defies translation, but 
which being drawn up by some Spanish Boz, is most delectable to 
all who can understand it ; the nomenclature of praise and blame 
is defined with the most accurate precision of language, and the 
delicate shades of character are distinguished with the nicety of 
phrenological subdivision. The foundation of this lingo is 
gipsy Romany, metaphor, and double entendre ; to master it is 
no easy matter ; indeed, a distinguished diplomat and tauro- 
machian philologist, whom we are proud to call our friend, 
v.-as often unable to comprehend the full pregnancy of the 
meaning of certain terms, without a reference to the late Duke 
of San Lorenzo, who sustained the character of Spanish ambas- 
sador in London and of bull-fighter in Madrid with equal dignity ; 
his grace was a living lexicon of slang. Yet let no student be 
deterred by any difficulty, since he will eventually be repaid, 
when he can fully relish the Andalucian wit, or sal Andaluga, 
the salt, with which the reports are flavoured : that it is seldom 
Attic must, however, be confessed. Nor let time or pains be 
grudged ; there is no royal road to Euclid, and life, say the 
Spanish fancy, is too short to learn bull-fighting. This possibly 
may seem strange, but P^ngli^h squires and country gentlemen 
assert as much in regard to fox-hunting. 


The day appointed for a bull-feast is announced by placards 
of all colours ; the important particulars decorate every wall. 
The first thing is to secure a good place beforehand, by sending 
for a Boletin de Sombra, a shade-ticket ; and as the great object 
is to avoid glare and heat, the best places are on the northern 
side, which are in the shade. The transit of the sun over the 
Plaza, the zodiacal progress into Taurus, is decidedly the best 
calculated astronomical observation in Spain ; the line of shadow 
defined on the arena is marked by a gradation of prices. The 
different seats and prices are everywhere detailed in the bills of 
the play, with the names of the combatants and the colours of 
the different breeds of bulls. 

The day before the fight, the bulls destined for the spectacle 
are driven towards the town, and pastured in a meadow reserved 
for their reception ; then the fine amateurs never fail to ride out 
to see what the cattle is like, just as the knowing in horseflesh 
go to Tattersall's of a Sunday afternoon, instead of attending 
evening service in their parish churches. According to Pepe 
lUo, who was a very practical man, and the first author on the 
modern system of the arena, of which he was the- briglitest orna- 
ment, and on which he died in the arms of victory, the "love 
of bulls is inherent in man, especially in the Spaniard, among 
which glorious people there have been bull-fights ever since 
there were bulls, because the Spanish men are as much more 
brave than all other men, as the Spanish bull is more fierce and 
valiant than all other bulls." Certainly, from having been bred 
at large, in roomy unenclosed plains, they are more active than 
the animals raised by John Bull, but ag regards form and power 
they would be scouted in an English cattle- show ; a real British 
bull, with his broad neck and short horns, would make quick work 
with tlie men and horses of Spain ; his " spears " would be no less 
efl"ective than the bayonets of our soldiers, wliich no foreigner 
faces twice, or the picks of our Navvies, three and three-eighths 
of whom are calculated by railway economists to eat more beef 
and do more work tlian five and five-eighths of corresponding 
foreign material. By the way, the correct Castilian word for the 
bull's horns is astcis, the Latin hastas, spears. Cuernos must 
never be used in good Spanisli society, since, from its secondary 
meaning, it might give offence to present company : allusions 


296 BEST BREED OF BULLS. [chap. xxi. 

to common calamities are never made to ears polite, however 
frequent among the vulgar, who call things by their improper 
names — nay, roar them out, as in the time of Horace : " Magna 
compellens voce cucullura." 

Not every bull will do for the Plaza, and none but the fiercest 
are selected, who undergo trials from the earliest youth ; the 
most celebrated animals come from Utrera near Seville, and from 
the same pastures where that eminent breeder of old Geryon, 
raised those wonderful oxen, which all but burst with fat in fifty 
days, and were " lifted " by the invincible Hercules. Senor 
Cabrera, the modern Geryon, was so pleased with Joseph Buona- 
parte, or so afraid, that he offered to him a hundred bulls, as a 
Jiecatomb for the rations of his troops, who, braver and hungrier 
than Hercules, would otherwise have infallibly followed the 
demigod's example. The Manchegan bull, small, very powerful, 
and active, is considered to be the original stock of Spain ; 
of this breed was " Manchangito," the pet of the Visconde de 
jNLiranda, a tauromachian noble of Cordova, and who used to 
come into the dining-room, but, having one day killed a guest, he 
was destroyed after violent resistance on the part of the Viscount, 
and only in obedience to the peremptory mandate of the Prince 
of the Peace. 

The capital is supplied with animals bred in the valleys of the 
Jarama near Aranjuez, which have been immemorially cele- 
brated. From hence came that Harpado, the magnificent beast 
of the magnificent Moorish ballad of Gazul, which was evidently 
written by a practical torero, and on the spot : the verses sparkle 
with daylight and local colour like a Velazquez, and are as mi- 
nutely correct as a Paul Potter, while Byron's " Bull-fight" is 
the invention of a foreign poet, and full of slight inaccuracies. 

The encierro, or the driving the bulls to the arena, is a service 
of danger ; they are enticed by tame oxen, into a road which 
is barricadoed on each side, and then driven full speed by the 
mounted and spear-bearing peasants into the Plaza. It is an 
exciting, peculiar, and picturesque spectacle ; and the poor who 
cannot afford to go to the bull-fight, risk their lives and cloaks 
in order to get the front places, and best chance of a stray poke 
en passant. 

The next afternoon all the world crowds to the Plaza de toroi 


You need not ask the way ; just launch into the tide, which in 
these Spanish affairs will assuredly carry you away. Nothing 
can exceed the gaiety and sparkle of a Spanish public going, eager 
and full-dressed, to the fight. They could not move faster were 
they running away from a real one. All the streets or open 
spaces near the outside of the arena present of themselves a spec- 
tacle to the stranger, and genuine Spain is far better to be seen 
and studied in the streets, than in the saloon. Now indeed a tra- 
veller from Belgravia feels that he is out of town, in a new worll 
and no mistake ; all around him is a perfect saturnalia, all ranks 
are fused in one stream of living beings, one bloody though 
beats in every heart, one heart beats in ten thousand bosoms ; 
every other business is at an end, the lover leaves his mistress 
unless she will go with him, — the doctor and lawyer renounce pa- 
tients, briefs, and fees ; the city of sleepers is awakened, and all is 
life, noise, and movement, where to-morrow will be the stillness 
and silence of death ; now the bending line of the Calle de Alcald, 
which on other days is broad and dull as Portland Place, becomes 
the aorta of Madrid, and is scarcely wide enough for the increased 
circulation ; now it is filled with a dense mass coloured as the 
rainbow, which winds along like a spotted snake to its prey. 
Oh the din and dust ! The merry mob is everything, and, like 
the Greek chorus, is always on the scene. How national and 
Spanish are the dresses of the lower classes — for their betters alone 
appear like Boulevard quizzes, or tigers cut out from our East end 
tailors' pattern-book of the last new fashion ; what Manolas, what 
reds and yellows, what fringes and flounces, what swarms of pic- 
turesque vagabonds, cluster, or alas, clustered, around calesas, 
whose wild drivers run on foot, whipping, screaming, swearing ; 
the type of these vehicles in form and colour was Neapolitan ; 
they alas ! are also soon destined to be sacrificed to civilization 
to the 'bus and common-place cab, or vile fly. 

The plaza is the focus of a fire, which blood alone can extin- 
guish ; what public meetings and dinners are to Britons, reviews 
and razzias to Gauls, mass or music to Italians, is this one and 
absorbing bull-fight to Spaniards of all ranks, sexes, ages, for their 
happiness is quite catching ; and yet a thorn peeps amid these 
rosebuds; when the dazzling glare and fierce African sun cal- 
cininjj the heavens and earth, fires up man and beast to madness, 

298 FILLING THE THEATRE. [chap. xxi. 

a raging thirst for blood is seen in flashing eyes and the irritable 
ready knife, then the passion of the Arab triumphs over the 
coldness of the Goth : the excitement would be terrific were it 
not on pleasure bent; indeed there is no sacrifice, even of chas- 
tity, no denial, even of dinner, which they will not undergo to 
save money for the bull-fight. It is the birdlime with which the 
devil catches many a female and male soul. The men go in all 
their best costume and majo-^ncYj : the distinguished ladies wear 
on these occasions white lace mantillas, and when heated, look, 
us the Andaluz wag Adrian said, like sausages wrapped up in 
white paper ; a fan, abanico, is quite as necessary to all as it was 
among the Romans. The article is sold outside for a trifle, and is 
made of rude paper, stuck into a handle of common cane or stick, 
and the gift of one to his nutbrown querida is thought a delicate 
attention to her complexion from her swarthy swain ; at the same 
time the lower Salamander classes stand fire much better on these 
occasions than in action, and would rather be roasted lanless 
alive a la auto de fe than miss these hot engagements. 

The place of slaughter, like the Abattoirs on the Continent, 
is erected outside the towns, in order to obtain space, and because 
horned animals when over driven in crowded streets are apt to 
be ill-mannered, as may be seen every Smithfield market-day in 
the City, as the Lord Mayor well knows. 

The seats occupied by the mob are filled more rapidly than 
our shilling galleries, and the " gods" are equally noisy and im- 
patient. The anxiety of the immortals, wishes to annihilate 
time and space and make bull-fanciers happy. Now his majesty 
the many reigns triumphantly, and this — church excepted — is the 
only public meeting allowed ; but even here, as on the Continent, 
the odious bayonet sparkles, and the soldier picket announces 
that innocent amusements are not free ; treason and stratagem are 
suspected by coward despots, when one sole thought of pleasure 
engrosses every one else. All ranks are now fused into one mass 
of homogeneous humanity ; their good humour is contagious ; all 
leave their cares and sorrows at home, and enter with a gaiety of 
heart and a determination to be amused, which defies wrinkled 
care ; many and not over-delicate are the quips and quirks ban- 
died to and fro, with an eloquence more energetic than una- 
dorned ; things and persons are mentioned to the horror of peri- 


phrastic euphuists ; the liberty of speech is perfect, and as it is 
all done quite in a parliamentary way, none take offence. Those 
only who cannot get in are sad ; these rejected ones remain out- 
side grinding their teeth, like the unhappy ghosts on the wrong 
side of the Styx, and listen anxiously to tlie joyous shouts of the 
thrice blessed within. 

At Seville a choice box in the shade and to the right of the 
president is allotted as the seat of honour to the canons of the 
cathedral, who attend in their clerical costume ; and such days 
are fixed upon for the bull- fight as will not by a long church 
service prevent their coming. The clergy of Spain have always 
been the most uncompromising enemies of the stage, where 
they never go ; yet neither the cruelty nor profligacy of the am- 
phitheatre has ever roused the zeal of their most elect or most 
fanatic : our puritans at least assailed the bear-bait, which induced 
the Cavalier Pludibras to defend them ; so our methodists de- 
nounced the bull-bait, which was therefore patronised by the Righ*; 
Hon. W.Windham, in the memorable debate May 24, 1802, on Mr 
Dog Dent. The Spanish clergy pay due deference to bulls, both 
papal and quadruped ; they dislike being touched on this subject, 
and generally reply " Es costumbre — it is the custom — siemprese 
ha praticado asi — it has always been done so, or son cosas de 
Espcaia, they are things of Spain" — the usual answer given as 
to everything which appears incomprehensible to strangers, and 
which they either can't account for, or do not choose. In 
vain did St. Isidore write a chapter against the amphitlieatre — 
his chapter minds him not ; in vain did Alplionso the Wise for- 
bid their attendance. The sacrifice of the bull has always been 
mixed up with the religion of old Rome and old and modern 
Spain, where tliey are classed among acts of charity, since they 
support the sick and wounded ; therefore all the sable country- 
men of Loyola hold to the Jesuitical doctrine that the end jus- 
tifies the means. 



The Bull-fight— Opening of Spectacle — First Act, and Appearance of the 
Bull— The Picador— Bull Bastinado — The Horses, and their Cruel Treat- 
ment — Fire and Dogs — The Second Act — The Chulos and their Darts — 
The Third Act— The Matador— Death of the Bull— The Conclusion, and 
Philosophy of the Amusement — Its Effect on Ladies. 

When the appointed much-wished-for hour is come, the Queen or 
the Corregidor takes the seat of honour in a central and splendid 
box, the mob having been previously expelled from the open 
arena ; this operation is called the despejo, and is an amusing one, 
from the reluctance with wliich the great unwashed submit to be 
cleaned out. The proceedings open at a given signal with a 
procession of the combatants, who advance preceded by alguaciles, 
or officers of police, who are dressed in the ancient Spanish cos- 
tume, and are always at hand to arrest any one wlio infringes 
the severe laws against interruptions of the games. Then follow 
the picadores, or mounted horsemen, with their spears. Their 
original broad-brimmed Spanish hats are decorated with ribbons ; 
their upper man is clac in a gay silken jacket, whose lightness 
contrasts with the heavy iron and leather protections of the legs, 
whicli give the clumsy look of a French jackbooted postilion. 
These defences are necessary when the horned animal charges 
home. Xext follow the chulos, or combatants on foot, who are 
arrayed like Figaro at the opera, and have, moreover, silken 
cloaks of gay colours. The 7)iatndures, or killers, come behind 
them ; and, last of all, a gaily-caparLsoned team of mules, which 
is destined to drag the slaughtered bulls from the arena. As for 
the men, those who are killed on the spot are denied the burial- 
rites if they die without confession. Springing from the dregs 
of the people, they are eminently superstitious, and cover their 
breasts with relics, amulets, and papal charms. A clergyman, 
however, is in attendance with the sacramental wafer, in case 
su majestad may be wanted for a mortally -wounded combatant. 


Having made their obeisances to the chief authority, all retire, 
and the fatal trumpet sounds ; then the president throws the key 
of the gate by which the bull is to enter, to one of the alguaciles, 
who ought to catch it in his hat. When the door is opened, 
this worthy gallops away as fast as he can, amid the hoots and 
hisses of the mob, not because he rides like a constable, but from 
the instinctive enmity which his majesty the many bear to the 
finisher of the law, just as little birds love to mob a hawk ; now 
more than a thousand kind wishes are offered up that the bull 
may catch and toss him. The brilliant army of combatants in 
the meanwhile separates like a bursting shell, and take up their 
respective places as regularly as our fielders do at a cricket-match. 

The play, which consists of three acts, then begins in earnest ; 
the drawing up of the curtain is a spirit-stirring moment ; all 
eyes are riveted at the first appearance of the bull on this stage, 
as no one can tell how he may behave. Let loose from his dark 
cell, at first he seems amazed at the Jiovelty of his position ; torn 
from his pastures, imprisoned and exposed, stunned by the noise, 
he gazes an instant around at the crowd, the glare, and waving 
handkerchiefs, ignorant of the fate which inevitably awaits liim. 
He bears on his neck a ribbon, " la devisa," which designates his 
breeder. The picador endeavours to snatch this off, to lay the 
trophy at his true love's heart. The bull is condemned without 
reprieve ; however gallant his conduct, or desperate his resistance, 
his death is the catastrophe ; the whole tragedy tends and hastens 
to this event, which, although it is darkly shadowed out before- 
hand, as in a Greek play, does not diminish the interest, since 
all the intermediate changes and chances are uncertain ; hence 
the sustained excitement, for the action may pass in an instant 
from the sublime to the ridiculous, from tragedy to farce. 

The bull no sooner recovers his senses, tlian his splendid 
Achillean rage fires every limb, and with closing eyes and 
lowered horns he rushes at the first of the three picadores, who 
are drawn up to the left, close to the tablas, or wooden barrier 
which walls round the ring. The horseman sits on his trembling 
Eosinante, with his pointed lance under his right arm, as stiff" and 
valiant as Don Quixote. If the animal be only of second-rate 
power and courage, the sharp point arrests the charge, for he 
well remembers this garrocha, or goad, by which lierdsmen en- 

302 BULL BASTINADO. [chap. xxii. 

force discipline and inculcate instruction ; during this momentary 
pause a quick picador turns liis horse to the left and gets free. 
The bulls, although irrational brutes, are not slow on tlieir part 
in discovering when their antagonists are bold and dexterous, 
and particularly dislike fighting against the pricks. If they fly 
and will not face the picador, they are hooted at as despicable 
malefactors, who wish to defraud the public of their day's sport, 
they are execrated as " goats," " cows," which is no compliment 
to bulls ; these culprits, moreover, are soundly beaten as they 
pass near the barrier by forests of sticks, with which the mob 
is provided for the nonce ; that of the elegant ynajo, when going 
to the bull-fight, is very peculiar, and is called la chirata ; it is 
between four and five feet long, is taper, and terminates in a lump 
or knob, while the top is forked, into which the thumb is inserted ; 
it is also peeled or painted in alternate rings, black and white, or 
red and yellow. The lower classes content themselves with a 
common shillelah ; one with a knob at the end is preferred, as 
administering a more impressive whack ; their instrument is 
called porro, because heavy and lumbering. 

Nor is this bastinado uncalled for, since courage, address, and 
energy, are the qualities which ennoble tauromachia ; and when 
they are wanting, the butchery, with its many disgusting inci- 
dents, becomes revolting to the stranger, but to him alone ; for 
the gentler emotions of pity and mercy, which rarely soften any 
transactions of hard Iberia, are here banished altogether from 
the hearts of the natives ; they now only have eyes for exhibi- 
tions of skill and valour, and scarcely observe those cruel inci- 
dents Avhich engross and horrify the foreigner, who again on his 
part is equally blind to those redeeming excellencies, on which 
alone the attention of the rest of the spectators is fixed ; tlie 
tables are now turned against the stranger, whose aesthetic mind's 
eye can see the poetry and beauty of the picturesque rags and 
tumbledown hamlets of Spaniards, and yet is blind to the poverty, 
misery, and want of civilization, to which alone the vision of 
the higher classed native is directed, on whose exalted soul the 
coming comforts of cotton are gleaming. 

When the bull is turned by the spear of the first picador, he 
passes on to tlie two otiier horsemen, who receive him vith 
similar cordiality. If the animal be baffled by their skill and 

CHAP. xxii.J A GOOD BULL. 303 

valour, stunning are the shouts of applause which celebrate the 
victory of the men : should he on the contrary charge home and 
overwhelm horses and riders, tlien — for the balances of praise and 
blame are held with perfect fairness — the fierce lord of the arena 
is encouraged with roars of compliments, Bravo toro, Viva toro^ 
Well done, bull ! even a long life is wished to him by thousands 
who know that he must be dead in twenty minutes. • 

A bold beast is not to be deterred by a trifling inch-deep 
wound, but presses on, goring the horse in the flank, and then 
gaining confidence and courage by victory, and " baptized in 
blood," a la Frangaise, advances in a career of honour, gore, and 
glory. The picador is seldom well mounted, for the horses are 
provided, at tlie lowest possible price, by a contractor, who runs 
the risk whether many or few are killed ; they indeed are the 
only things economised in this costly spectacle, and are sorry, 
broken-down hacks, fit only for the dog-kennel of an English 
squire, or carriage of a foreign Pair. This increases the danger 
to his rider; in the ancient combats, the finest and most spirited 
horses were used ; quick as lightning, and turning to the touch, 
they escaped the deadly rush. The eyes of those poor horses 
which see and will not face death, are often bound over with a 
handkerchief, like criminals about to be executed ; thus they 
await blindfold the fatal horn thrust which is to end their life of 

The picadors are subject to most severe falls ; the bull often 
tosses horse and rider in one ruin, and when his victims fall 
with a crash on the gi'ound exhausts his fury upon his prostrate 
foes. The picador manages (if he can) to fall off on the opposite 
side, in order that his horse may form a barrier and rampart 
between him and the bull. When these deadly struggles take 
place, when life hangs on a thread, the amphitheatre is peopled 
with heads ; every feeling of anxiety, eagerness, fear, horror, 
and delight is stamped on their expressive countenances ; if hap- 
piness is to be estimated by quality, intensity, and concentration, 
rather than duration (and it is), these are moments of excitement 
more precious to them, than ages of placid, insipid, miiform 
stagnation. Their feelings are wrought to a pitch, when the 
horse, maddened with wounds and terror, plunging in the death- 
struggle, the crimson seams of blood streaking his foam and 

304 DEATH OF THE HORSE. chap. xxii. 

sweat-whitened body, flies from the infuriated bull still pursuing, 
still goring ; then are displayed the nerve, presence of mind, and 
horsemanship of the dexterous and undismayed picador. It is in 
truth a piteous sight to see the poor mangled horses treading out 
their entrails, and yet gallantly carrying off their riders unhurt. 
But as in the pagan sacrifices, the quivering intestines, trembling 
with life, formed the most propitious omens — to what will not 
early habit familiarise ? — so the Spaniards are no more affected 
with the reality, than the Italians are with the abstract " tanti 
palpiti " of Rossini. 

The miserable horse, when dead, is dragged out, leaving a 
bloody furrow on the sand, as the river-beds of the arid plains of 
Barbary are marked by the crimson fringe of the flowering 
oleanders. A universal sympathy is shown for the horseman in 
these awful moments ; the men rise, the women scream, but all 
this soon subsides ; the picador, if wounded, is carried out and 
forgotten — " los muertos y idos no tienen amigos " — a new com- 
batant fills up his gap, the battle rages — wounds and death are 
the order of the day — he is not missed ; and as new incidents 
arise, no pause is left for regret or reflection. We remember 
seeing at Granada a matador cruelly gored by a bull : he was 
carried away as dead, and his place immediately taken by his son, 
as coolly as a viscount succeeds to an earl's estate and title. Car- 
nerero, the musician, died while fiddling at a ball at Madrid, in 
1838 ; neither the band nor the dancers stopped one moment. 
The boldness of the picadors is great. Francisco Sevilla, when 
thrown from his horse and lying under the dying animal, seized 
the bull, as he rushed at him, by his ears, turned round to the 
people, and laughed ; but, in fact, the long horns of the bull 
make it difficult for him to gore a man on the ground ; he gene- 
rally bruises them with liis nose : nor does he remain long busied 
with his victim, since he is lured to fresh attacks by the glitter- 
ing cloaks of the Chiilos who come instantly to the rescue. At 
the same time we are free to confess, that few picadors, although 
men of bronze, can be said to have a sound rib in their body. 
When one is carried off apparently dead, but returns immediately 
mounted on a fresh horse, the applauding voice of the people 
outbellows a thousand bulls. If the wounded man should chance 
not to come back, n'trnporte, however courted outside the Plaza, 


now he is ranked, like the gladiator was by the Komans, no 
higher than a beast, — or about the same as a slave under the 
perfect equality and man rights of the model republic. 

The poor horse is valued at even less, and he, of all the 
actors, is the one in which Englishmen, true lovers and breeders 
of the noble animal, take the liveliest interest; nor can any bull- 
fighting habit ever reconcile them to his sufferings and ill- 
treatment. The hearts of the picadors are as devoid of feeling 
as their iron-cased legs ; they only think of themselves, and 
have a nice tact iu knowing when a wound is fatal or not. Ac- 
cordingly, if the horn-thrust has touched a vital part, no sooner 
has the enemy passed on to a new victim, than an experienced 
picador quietly dismounts, takes off the saddle and bridle, and 
hobbles off like Richard, calling out for another hor^e — a horse ! 
The poor animal, when stripped of these accoutrements, has a most 
rippish look, as it staggers to and fro, like a drunken man, until 
again attacked by the bull and prostrated ; then it lies dying- 
unnoticed in the sand, or, if observed, merely rouses the jeers of 
the mob ; as its tail quivers in the last agony of death, your 
attention is called to the fun ; Mira, mira, que cola ! The words 
and sight yet haunt us, for they were those that first caught our 
inexperienced ears and eyes at the first rush of the first bull 
of our first bullfight. While gazing on the scene in a total ab- 
straction from the world, we felt our coat-tails tugged at, as by 
a greedily-biting pike ; we had caught, or, rather, were caught 
by a venerable harridan, whose quick perception had discovered 
a novice, whom her kindness prompted to instruct, for e'en in 
the ashes live the wonted fires ; a bright, fierce eye gleamed alive 
in a dead and shrivelled face, which evil passions had furrowed 
like the lava-seared sides of an extinct volcano, and dried up, like 
a cat starved behind a wainscot, into a thing of fur and bones, in 
which gender was obliterated — let her pass. If the wound re- 
ceived by the horse be not instantaneously mortal, the blood- 
vomiting hole is plugged up with tow, and the fountain of life 
stopped for a few minutes. If the flank is only partially rup- 
tured, the protruding bowels are pushed back — no operation in 
hernia is half so well performed by Spanish surgeons — and tlie 
rent is sown up with a needle and pack-thread. Thus existence is 
prolonged for new tortures, and a few dollars are saved to t!ie 

306 A COWAED BULL. [chap. xxn. 

contractor ; but neither death nor lacerations excite the least 
pity, nay, the bloodier and more fatal the spectacle, the more 
brilliant is it pronounced. It is of no use to remonstrate, or ask 
why the wounded sufferers are not mercifully killed at once ; the 
utilitarian Spaniard dislikes to see the order of the sport inter- 
rupted and spoilt by what he considers foreign squeamishness and 
nonsense, ^^ Ah quel 7io vale fid," — "Bah! the beast is worth 
nothing;" that is, provided he condescends to reyily to your dispa- 
rates with anything beyond a shrug of civil contempt. But na- 
tional tastes will differ. " Sir," said an alderman to Dr. Johnson, 
" in attempting to listen to your long sentences, and give you a 
short answer, I have swallowed two pieces of green fat, without 
tasting the flavour. I beg you to let me enjoy my present hap- 
piness in peace and quiet." 

The bull is the hero of the scene; yet, like Satan in the 
Paradise Lost, he is foredoomed. Nothing can save him from a 
certain fate, which awaits all, whether brave or cowardly. The 
poor creatures sometimes endeavour in vain to escape, and 
have favourite retreats, to which they fly ; or they leap over the 
barrier, among the spectators, creating a vast hubbub and fun, 
upsetting water-carriers and fancy men, putting sentinels and old 
women to flight, and affording infinite delight to all who are 
safe in the boxes ; for, as Bacon remarks, " It is pleasant to see a 
battle from a distant hill." Bulls which exhibit this cowardlike 
activity are insulted : cnes of " fuego" and " perros," fire and 
dogs, resound, and he is condemned to be baited. As the Spanish 
dogs have by no means the pluck of the English assailants of 
bulls, they are longer at the work, and many are made minced- 

meat of: — 

" Up to the stars the growling mastiffs fly 
And add new monsters to the frighted sky." 

When at length the poor brute is pulled down, he is stabbed in the 
spine, as if he were only fit for the shambles, being a civilian ox, 
not a soldierlike bull. All these processes are considered as 
deadly insults ; and when more than one bull exhibits these craven 
propensities to baulk nobler expectancies, then is raised tlie cry 
of " Cabestros al circo /" tame oxen to the circus. This is a mortal 
aflront to the empresa, or management, as it infers that it has 
furnished animals fitter for the plough than for the arena. The 


indignation of the mob is terrible ; for, if disappointed in the 
blood of bulls, it will lap that of men. 

The bull is sometimes teased with stuifed figures, men of straw 
with leaded feet, which rise up again as soon as he knocks them 
down. An old author relates that in the time of Philip IV. "a 
despicable peasant was occasionally set upon a lean horse, and 
exposed to death." At other times, to amuse the populace, a 
monkey is tied to a pole in the arena. This art of ingeniously 
tormenting is considered as unjustifiable homicide by certain 
lively philosimious foreigners ; and, indeed, all these episodes 
are despised as irregular hors d'ceuvres, by the real and business- 
like amateur. 

After a due time the first act terminates : its length is uncer- 
tain. Sometimes it is most brilliant, since one bull has been 
known to kill a dozen horses, and clear the plaza. Then he is 
adored ; and as he roams, snorting about, lord of all he surveys, 
he becomes the sole object of worship to ten thousand devotees ; 
at the signal of the president, and sound of a trumpet, the second 
act commences with the performances of the chulo, a word which 
signifies, in the Arabic, a lad, a merryman, as at our fairs. The 
duty of this light division, these skirmishers, is to draw off the 
bull from the picador when endangered, which they do with their 
coloured cloaks ; their address and agility are surprising, they 
skim over the sand like glittering humming-birds, scarcely 
touching the earth. They are dressed in short breeches, and 
without gaiters, just as Figaro is in the opera of the ''Barbiere de 
Sevifflia.' Their hair is tied into a knot behind, and enclosed in 
the once universal silk net, the retecilla — the identical reticidum 
• — of which so many instances are seen on ancient Etruscan vases. 
No bull-fighters ever arrive at the top of their profession without 
first excelling in this apprenticeship ; then, they are taught how 
to entice the bull to them, and learn his mode of attack, and how 
to parry it. The most dangerous moment is when these chidos ven- 
ture out into the middle of the plaza, and are followed by the bull 
to the barrier. There is a small ledge, on which they place their 
foot, and vault over, and a narrow slit in the boarding, tlirough 
which tliey slip. Their escapes are marvellous, and they win by a 
neck ; they seem really sometimes, so close is the run, to be helped 
over the fence by the bull's horns. The chulos, in the second ac<, 

308 THE MATADOR AND THIRD ACT. [chap, xxn 

are the sole performers ; their part is to place small barbed darts, 
on each side of the neck of the bull, which are called banderillas, 
and are ornamented with cut paper of different colours — gay de- 
corations under which cruelty is concealed. The banderilleros go 
right up to him, holding the arrows at the shaft, and pointing the 
barbs at the bull ; just when the animal stoops to toss his foes, 
they jerk them into his neck and slip aside. The service appears 
to be more dangerous than it is, but it requires a quick eye, a light 
hand and foot. The bai'bs should be placed to correspond with 
each other exactly on both sides. Such pretty pairs are termed 
huenos pares by the Spaniards, and the feat is called coiffer le 
taureau by the French, who undoubtedly are first-rate perru- 
quiers. Very often these arrows are provided with crackers, 
which, by means of a detonating powder, explode the moment 
they are affixed in the neck ; thence they are called banderillas 
de fiiego. The agony of the scorched and tortured animal makes 
him plunge and bound like a sportive lamb, to the intense joy of 
the populace, while the fire, the smell of singed hair and roasted 
flesh, which our gastronome neighbours would call a bifstec a 
V Espagnole, faintly recall to many a dark scowling priest the 
superior attractions of his former amphitheatre, the auto de fe. 

The last trumpet now sounds, the arena is cleared, and the 
matador, the executioner, the man of death, stands before his 
victim alone ; on entering, he addresses the president, and throws 
his cap to the ground. In his right hand he holds a long straight 
Toledan blade ; in his left he waves the muleta, the red flag, or 
the engauo, the lure, which ought not (so Romero laid down in 
our hearing) to be so large as the standard of a religious brother- 
hood, nor so small as a lady's pocket-handkerchief, but about a 
yard square. The colour is always red, because that best irritates 
tlie bull and conceals blood. Tliere is always a spare slayer at 
hand in case of accidents, which may happen in the best regulated 

The matador, from being alone, concentrates in himself all 
the interest as regards the human species, which was before 
frittered away among the many other combatants, as was the 
case in the ancient gladiatorial shows of Rome. He advances to 
the bull, in order to entice him towards him, or, in nice technical 
idiom, citarlo a la jurisdiccion del engano, to cite him into the 


jurisdiction of the trick ; in plain English, to subpo3na him, or, 
as our ring would saj^, get his head into cliancery. And this 
trial is nearly as awful, as the matador stands confronted with his 
foe, in the presence of inexorable witnesses, the bar and judges, 
who would rather see the bull kill him twice over, than that he 
should kill the bull contrary to the rules and practice of the 
court and tauromachian precedent. In these brief but trying 
moments the matador generally looks pale and anxious, as well 
he may, for life hangs on the edge of a razor, but he presents a 
fine picture of fixed purpose and concentration of moral energy. 
And Seneca said truly that the world had seen as many examples 
of courage in gladiators, as in the Catos and Scipios. 

The matador endeavoui's rapidly to discover the character of 
the animal, and examines with eye keener than Spurzheim, his 
bumps of combativeness, destructi\eness, and other amiable 
organs ; nor has he many moments to lose, where mistake is fatal, 
as one must die, and both may. Here, as FalstafF says, there is 
no scoring, except on the pate. Often even the brute bull seems 
to feel that the last moment is come, and pauses, when face to 
face in the deadly duel with liis single opponent. Be that as it 
may, the contrast is very striking. The slayer is arrayed in a ball 
costume, with no buckler but skill, and as if it were a pastime : 
he is all coolness, the beast all rage ; and time it is to be 
collected, for now indeed knowledge is power, and could the 
beast reason, the man would have small chance. Meanwhile the 
spectators are wound up to a greater pitcli of madness than the 
poor bull, who has undergone a long torture, besides continued 
excitement : he at this instant becomes a study for a Paul Potter ; 
his eyes flash fire — his inflated nostrils snort fury ; his body is 
covered with sweat and foam, or crimsoned with a glaze of gore 
strean)ing from gaping wounds. " Mira ! que hel cuerpo de 
sangre I — look ! what a beauteous body of blood !" exclaimed 
the worthy old lady, who, as we before mentioned, was kind 
enough to point out to our inexperience the tit bits of the treat, 
the pearls of greatest price. 

There are several sorts of t07'os, whose characters vary no less 
than those of men : sortie are brave and dashing, others are slow 
and heavy, others sly and cowardly. The matador foils and 
plays with the bull until he has discovered his disposition. The 


310 CHARACTERS OF BULLS. [chap. xxii. 

fundamental principle consists in the animal's mode of attack, 
the stooping his head and shutting his eyes, before he butts ; the 
seci'et of mastering him lies in distinguishing whether he acts on 
the offensive or defensive. Tliose whicli are fearless, and rush 
boldly on at once, closing their eyes, are the most easy to kill ; 
those which are cunning — which seldom go straight when they 
charge, but stop, dodge, and run at the man, not the flag, are 
the most dangerous. The interest of the spectators increases in 
proportion as the peril is great. 

Although fatal accidents do not often occur (and we ourselves 
have never seen a man killed, yet we have beheld some hundred 
bulls despatched), such events are always possible. At Tudela, 
a bull having killed seventeen horses, a picador named Blanco, 
and a banderillero, then leapt over the barriers, where he gored 
to death a peasant, and wounded many others. The newspapers 
simply headed the statement, " Accidents have happened." Pepe 
Illo, who had received thirty-eight wounds in the wars, died, 
like Nelson, the hero's death. He was killed on the 11th of 
May, 1801. He had a presentiment of his death, but said that 
he must do his duty. 

Every matador must be quick and decided. He must not let 
the bull run at the flag above two or three times ; the moral 
tension of the multitudes is too strained to endure a longer sus- 
pense ; they vent their impatience in jeers, noises, and endea- 
vour by every possible manner to irritate him, and make him lose 
his temper, and perhaps life. Under such circumstances, Manuel 
Romero, who had murdered a man, M-as always saluted with cries 
of " A la Plaza de Cehada — to Tyburn." The populace abso- 
lutely loathe those who show the smallest white feather, or do 
not brave death cheerfully. 

There are many ways of killing the bull : the principal is 
when the matador receives him on his sword when charging ; 
then the weapon, which is held still and never thrust forward, 
enters just between the left shoulder and the blade-bone ; a firm 
hand, eye, and nerve, are essential, since in nothing is the real 
fancy so fastidious as in the exact nicety of the placing this death- 
wound. The bull very often is not killed at the first effort ; if 
not true, the sword strikes a bone, and then it is ejected high in 
air by the rising neck. When the blow is true, death is instan 


taneous, and the bull, vomiting forth blood, drops at the feet of 
his conqueror. It is indeed the triumph of knowledge over brute 
force ; all that was fire, fury, passion, and life, falls in an instant, 
still for ever. The gay team of mules now enter, glittering with 
flaffs, and tinkliuii: witli bells ; the dead bull is carried off at a 
rapid gallop, which always delights the populace. The matador 
then wipes the hot blood from his sword, and bows to the spec- 
tators with admirable sang froid, who fling their hats into the 
arena, a compliment which he returns by throwing them back 
again (they are generally " shocking bad " ones) ; when Spain 
was rich, a golden, or at least a silver shower was rained down — 
ces heaux jours la sont passes ; thanks to her kind neighbour. 
The poverty-stricken Spaniaixl, however, gives all he can, and 
lets the bullfighter dream the rest. As hats in Spain represent 
grandeeship, so these beavers, part and parcel of themselves, are 
given as symbols of their generous hearts and souls ; and none but 
a huckster would go into minute details of value or condition. 

When a bull will not run at the fatal flag, or prays for par- 
don, he is doomed to a dishonourable death, as no true Spaniard 
begs for his own life, or spares that of his foe, when in his power ; 
now the media Luna is yelled for, and the call implies insult ; 
the use is equivalent to shooting traitors in the back : this half 
moon is the precise Oriental ancient and cruel instrument of 
houghing cattle ; moreover it is the exact old Iberian bident, or 
a sharp steel crescent placed on a long pole. The cowardly blow 
is given from behind ; and when the poor beast is crippled by 
dividing the sinew of his leg, and crawls along in agony, 
an assistant pierces with a pointed dagger the spinal marrow, 
which is the usual method of slaughtering cattle in Spain by the 
butcher. To perform all these vile operations is considered be- 
neath the dignity of the matador ; some, however. Mill kill the 
bull by phmging the point of tlieir sword in the vertebras, as the 
danger gives dignity to the difficult feat. 

Such is a single bull-fight ; each of which is repeated eight 
times with succeeding bulls, the excitement of the multitude 
rising with each indulgence; after a short collapse new desires 
are roused by fresh objects, the fierce sport is renewed, which 
night alone can extinguish ; nay, often when royalty is present,, a 
ninth bull is clamoured for, which is always graciously granted 

y 2 

312 CONCLUSION OF BULL-FIGHT. [chap. xxii. 

by the nominal monarch's welcome sign, the pulling his royal 
ear ; in truth here the mob is autocrat, and his majesty the many 
will take no denial ; the bull-fight terminates when the day dies 
like a tlolphin, and the curtain of heaven hung over the bloody 
show, is incarnadined and crimsoned ; this glorious finish is seen 
in full perfectfon at Seville, wliere the plaza from being un- 
finished is open toward the cathedral, which furnishes a Moorish 
distance to tlie picturesque foreground. On particular occasions 
this side is decorated with flags. When the blazing sun setting 
on the red Giralda tower, lights up its fair proportions like a 
pillar of fire, the refreshing evening breeze springs up, and the 
flagging banners wave in triumph over the concluding spectacle ; 
then when all is come to an end, as all things human must, the 
congregation depart, with rather le^s decorum than if quitting a 
churcli ; all liasten to sacrifice the rest of the night to Bacchus 
and Venus, with a passing homage to the knife, should critics 
differ too hotly on tlie merits of some particular thrust of the 

To conclude ; the minds of men, like the House of Commons 
in 1802, are divided on the merits of the bull-fight ; theWilber- 
forces assert (especially foreigners, who, notwithstanding, seldom 
fail to sanction die arena by their presence) that all the best 
feelings are blunted — that idleness, extravagance, cruelty, and 
ferocity are promoted at a vast expense of human and animal 
life by these pastimes ; the Windhams contend that loyalty, 
courage, presence of mind, endurance of pain, and contempt of 
death, are inculcated — that, while the theatre is all illusion, the 
opera all effeminacy, these manly, national games are all truth, 
and in the words of a native eulogist " elevate the soul to those 
grandiose actions of valour and heroism which have long proved 
the Spaniards to be the best and bravest of all nations." 

The efficacy of such sports for sustaining a martial spirit was dis- 
proved by the degeneracy of the Romans at the time when bloody 
spectacles were most in vogue ; nor are bravery and humanity 
the characteristics of the bull-fighting Spaniards in the collective. 
We ourselves do not attribute their " merciless skivering and 
skewering," their flogging and murdering women, to the bull- 
fight, the practical result of which has been overrated and mis- 
understood. Cruel it undoubtedly is, and perfectly congenial to 


the inherent, inveterate ferocity of Iberian character, but it is an 
effect rather tlian a cause — with doubtless some reciprocating 
action ; and it may be questioned, whether the original bull-fight 
had not a greater tendency to humanise, than the Olympic games ; 
certainly the Fiesta real of the feudal ages combined the asso- 
ciated ideas of religion and loyalty, while the chivalrous combat 
rmrtured a nice sense of personal honour and a respectful gallantry 
to women, which weie unknown to the polished CVreeks or warlike 
Romans ; and many of the finest features of Spanish character 
have degenerated since the discontinuance of the original fight, 
which was more bloody and fatal than the present one. 

The Spaniards invariably bring forward our boxing-matches 
in self-justification, as if a tu quoque could be so ; but it must 
always be remembered in our excuse that these are discounte- 
nanced by the good and respectable, and legally stigmatised as 
breaches of the peace ; although disgraced by beastly drunken- 
ness, brutal vulgarity, ruinous gambling and betting, from which 
the Spanish arena is exempt, as no bull yet has been backed to 
kill so many horses or not ; our matches, however, are based on a 
spirit oi fair play which forms no principle of the Punic politics, 
warfare, or bull-fighting of Spain. The Plaza there is patronised 
by churcli and state, to Avhom, in justice, the responsibility of evil 
consequences must be referred. Tlie show is conducted with great 
ceremonial, combining many elements of poetry, the beautiful and 
sublime ; insomuch that a Spanish author proudly says : " When 
the countless assembly is honoured by the presence of our august 
mouarclis, the world is lost in admiration at the majestic spec- 
tacle afforded by the happiest people in the world, enjoying with 
rapture an exhibition peculiarly their own, and offering to their 
idolised sovereigns the due Iiomage of the truest and most refined 
loyalty ;" and it is impossible to deny the magnificent coup d'ail 
of the asseiiibled thousands. Under such conflicting circum- 
stances, we turn away our eyes during moments of painful detail 
which are lost in the poetical ferocity of the whole, for tlie in- 
terest of the tragedy of real death is undeniable, irresistible, and 
all absorbing. 

The Spaniards seem almost unconscious of the cruelty of those 
details wiiich are most offensive to a stranger. They are recon- 
ciled by habit, as we are to the bleeding butchers' shops which 


disfigure our gay streets, and which if seen for the first time 
would be inexpressibly disgusting. The feeling of the chase, 
that remnant of the savage, rules in the arena, and mankind has 
never been nice or tender^iearted in regard to the sufferings of 
animals, when influenced by the destructive propensities. In 
England no sympathy is shown for game, — fish, flesh, or fowl ; 
nor for vermin — stoats, kites, or poachers. The end of the 
sport is — death ; the amusement is the playing, the fine run, as 
the ]3rolongation of animal suffering is termed in the tender 
vocabulary of the Nimrods ; the pang of mortal sufferance is not 
regulated by the size of the victim ; the bull moreover is always 
put at once out of his misery, and never exposed to the thousand 
lingering deaths of the poor wounded hare ; therefore we must 
not see a toro in Spanish eyes and wink at the fox in our 
own, nor 

" Compound for vices we 're inclined to 
By damning those we have no mind to." 

It is not clear that animal suffering on the whole predominates 
over animal happiness. The bull roams in ample pastures, 
through a youth and manhood free from toil, and when killed in 
the plaza only anticipates by a few months the certain fate of the 
imprisoned, over-laboured, mutilated ox. 

In Spain, where capital is scanty, person and property insecure 
(evils not quite corrected since the late democratic reforms), no 
one would adventure on the speculation of breeding cattle on a 
large scale, where the return is so distant, without the certain 
demand and sale created by the amphitheatre ; and as a small 
proportion only of the produce possess the requisite qualifications, 
the surplus and females go to tlie plough and market, and can be 
sold cheaper from the profit made on tlie bulls. Spanish political 
economists jorotJec? that many valuable animals were wasted in the 
arena — but their theories vanished before the fact, that the supply 
of cattle was rapidly diminished when bull-fights were suppressed. 
Similar results take place as regards the breed of horses, though 
in a minor degree ; those, moreover, which are sold to the Plaza 
would never be bought by any one else. With respect to the loss 
of human life, in no land is a man worth so little as in Spain ; and 
more English aldermen are killed indirectly by turtles, than Anda- 
lucian picadors directly by bulls ; while, as to time, these exhibi- 


tions always take place on holidays, which even indvistrious 
Britons bouse away occasionally in pothouses, and idle Spaniards 
invariably smoke out in sunshiny dolce far niente. The attend- 
ance, again, of idle spectators prevents idleness in the nume- 
rous classes employed directly and indirectly in getting up and 
carrying out this expensive spectacle. 

It is pool and illogical philosophy to judge of foreign customs 
by our own habits, prejudices, and conventional opinions ; a cold, 
unprepared, calculating stranger comes without the freemasonry 
of early associations, and criticises minutias which are lost on the 
natives in their enthusiasm and feeling for the whole. He is 
horrified by details to which the Spaniards have become as ac- 
customed as hospital nurses, whose finer sympathetic emotions of 
pity are deadened by repetition. 

A most difficult thing it is to change long-established usages and 
customs with which we are familiar from our early days, and which 
have come down to us connected with many fond remembrances. 
We are slow to suspect any evil or harm in such practices ; we 
dislike to look the evidence of facts in the face, and shrink from 
a conclusion which would require the abandonment of a recrea- 
tion, which we have long regarded as innocent, and in which we, 
as well as our parents befoi-e us, have not scrupled to indulge. 
Children, Vage sans pitie, do not speculate on cruelty, whether 
in bull-baiting or bird's-nesting, and Spaniards are brought up to 
the bull-fight from their infancy, when they are too simple to 
speculate on abstract questions, but associate with the Plaza all 
their ideas of reward for good conduct, of finely and holiday ; in a 
land where amusements are few — they catch the contagion ot 
pleasure, and in their young bias of imitation approve of what 
is approved of by their parents. They return to their homes 
unchanged — playful, timid, or serious, as before ; their kindly, 
social feelings are uninjured : and where is the filial or parental 
bond more aflTectionately cherished than in Spain — where are the 
noble courtesies of life, the kind, considerate, self-respecting de- 
meanour so exemplified as in Spanish society ? 

The successive feelings experienced by most foreigners are ad- 
miration, compassion, and weariness of the flesh. The first will 
be readily understood, as it will that the horses' sufferings cannot 
be beheld by novices without compassion : " In troth it was more 


a pittie than a delight," wrote the herald of Lord Nottingham. 
This feeling, however, regards the animals who are forced into 
wounds and death ; the men scarcely excite much of it, since they 
willingly court the danger, and liave therefore no right to com- 
plain. These heroes of low life are applauded, well paid, and 
their risk is more apparent than real ; our British feelings of fair 
play make us side rather with the poor bull who is overmatched ; 
we res[)ect the gallantry of his unequal defence. Such must 
always be tlie effect produced on those not bred and brought up 
to such scenes. So Livy relates that, when the gladiatorial shows 
were first introduced by the Romans into Asia, the natives were 
more frightened tlian pleased, but by leading them on from sham- 
fights to real, they became as fond of tliem as the Romans. Tiie 
predominant sensation experienced by ourselves was bore, the 
same thing over and over again, and too much of it. But that 
is the case with everything in Spain, where processions and pro- 
fessions are interminable. The younger Pliny, who was no 
amateur, complained of the eternal sameness of seeing what to have 
seen once, was enough ; just as Dr. Johnson, when he witnessed a 
horse-race, observed that he had not met with such a proof of the 
paucity of human pleasures as in the popularity of such a spectacle. 
But the life of Spaniards is uniform, and their sensations, not being 
blunted by satiety, are intense. Their bull-fight to them is always 
new and exciting, since the more the toresque intellect is culti- 
vated the greater the capacity for enjoyment ; they see a thousand 
minute beauties in the character and conduct of the combatants, 
which escape the superficial unlearned glance of the uninitiated. 

Spanish ladies, against whom every puny scribbler shoots his 
petty barbed arrow, are relieved from the infliction of ennui, by 
the never-flagging, ever-sustained interest, in being admired. Tliey 
have no abstract nor Pasiphaic predilections ; they were taken to 
the bull-fight before they knew their alphabet, or what love was. 
Nor have we heard that it has ever rendered them particularly 
cruel, save and except some of the elderly and tougher lower- 
classed females. The younger and more tender scream and are 
dreadfully affected in all real moments of danger, in spite of their 
long familiarity. Their grand object, after all, is not to see the 
bull, but to lat themselves and their dresses be seen. The better 
classes generally interpose their fans at the most painful inci- 


dents, and certainly show no want of sensibility. The lower 
orders of females, as a body, behave quite as I'espectably as those 
of other countries do at executions, or other dreadful scenes, 
where they crowd with their babies. The case with English 
ladies is far different. They have heard the bull-fight not praised 
from their childhood, but condemned ; they see it for the first 
time when grown up ; curiosity is perhaps their leading feature 
in sharing an amusement, of which they have an indistinct idea 
that pleasure will be mixed with pain. The first sight delights 
them ; a flushed, excited cheek, betrays a feeling that they are 
almost ashamed to avow ; but as the bloody tragedy proceeds, 
they get frightened, disgusted, and disappointed. Few are able 
to sit out more than one course, and fewer ever re-enter the 
amphitheatre — 

" The heart that is soonest awake to the flower 
Is always the first to be touched by the thorn." 

Probably a Spanish woman, if she could be placed in precisely 
the same condition, would not act very differently, and some- 
thing of a similar test would be to bring her, for the first time, 
to an English boxing-match. Be this as it may, far from us 
and from our friends be that frigid philosophy, which would 
infer that their blight eyes, darting the shafts of Cupid, will 
glance one smile the less from witnessing these more merciful 

318 SPANISH AMUSEMENTS. [chap, xxiii. 


Spanish Theatre ; Old and Modern Drama; Arrangement of Plaj^ bouses— 
The Henroost — The Fandango; National Dances — A Gipsy Ball — 
Italian Opera — National Songs and Guitars. 

Having seen a bull-fight, the sight of Spain, those who only 
wish to pass time agreeably cannot be too quick in getting their 
passports vised for Naples. A pleasant country life, according to 
our notions, in Spain, is a tiling that is not ; and the substitute is 
but aBedouin Oriental makeshift existence, which, amusingenough 
for a spurt, will not do in the long run. Nor is life much better 
in the toivns i those in the inland provinces have a convent-like, 
dead, old-fashioned look about them, which petrifies a lively 
person ; nay even an artist when he has finished his sketches, is 
ready to commit suicide from sheer Bore, the genius of the locality. 
Madrid itself is but an unsocial, second-rate, inhospitable city ; 
and when the traveller has seen the Museum, been to the play, 
and walked on the eternal roundabout Prado, the sooner he 
shakes the dust oflf his feet the better. The maritime seaports, 
as in the East, from being frequented by the foreigner, are a 
trifle more cosmopolitan, cheerful, and amusing ; but generally 
speaking, public amusements are rare througliout this semi-Moro 
land. The calm contemplation of a cigar, and the dolcefar nieiite 
of siestose quiet indolence with unexciting twaddle, suffice ; while 
to some nations it is a pain to be out of pleasure, to the Spaniard 
it is a pleasure to be out of painful exertion : existence is happi- 
ness enough of itself ; and as for occupation, all desire only to do 
to-day what they did yesterday and will do to-morrow, that is no- 
tliing. Thus life slips away in a dreamy, listless routine, the serious 
business of love-making excepted ; leave me, leave me, to repose 
and tobacco. When however awake, the Alameda, or church- 
show, the bull-fight, and the rendezvous, are the chief relaxations. 
These will be best enjoyed in the Southern provinces, the laud 

CHAP, xxui.] THE THEATRE. 319 

also of the song and dance, of bright suns and eyes, and not the 
largest female feet in the world. 

The theatre, which forms elsewhere such an important item in 
passing the stranger's evening, is at a low ebb in Spain, although, 
as everybody is idle, and man is not worn out by business and 
money-making all day, it might be supposed to be just the thing ; 
but it is somewhat too expensive for the general poverty. Those 
again who for forty years have had real tragedies at home, lack 
that superabundance of felicity, which will pay for the liixuiy of 
fictitious grief abroad. In truth the drama in Spain was, like 
most other matters, the creature of an accident and of a period ; 
patronised by the pleasure-loving Philip IV., it blossomed in 
the sunshine of his smile, languished when that was witlidrawn, 
and was unable to resist the steady hostility of the clergy, who 
opposed this rival to their own religious spectacles and church 
melodramas, from which tile opposition stage sprung. Nor are 
their primitive mediseval Mysteries yet obsolete, since we have 
beheld them acted in Spain at Easter time ; then and there sacred 
subjects, grievously profaned to Protestant eyes, were gazed on by 
the pleased natives with too sincere and simple faith even to allow 
a suspicion of the gross absurdity; but everywhere in Spain, 
the spiritual has been materialised, and the divine degraded to 
the human in churches and out ; the clergy attacked the stage, 
by denying burial to the actors when dead, who, when alive, were 
not allowed to call themselves " Don" the cherished title of 
every Spaniard. Naturally, as no one of this self-respecting 
nation ever will pursue a despised profession if he can help it, 
few have chosen to make themselves vagabonds by Act of Par- 
liament, nor has any Garrick or Siddons ever arisen among them 
to beat down prejudices by public and private virtues. 

Even in this 19th century, confessors of families forbade the 
women and ciiildren's even passing through the street where "a 
temple of Satan " was reared; mendicant monks placed them- 
selves near the playhouse doors at niglit, to warn the headlong 
against the bottondess pit, just as our methodists on the day of 
the Derby distribute tracts at turnpikes against " sweeps " and 
racing. The monks at Cordova succeeded in 1823 in shutting 
up the theatre, because the nuns of an opposite convent observed 
the devil ai d his partners dancing fandangos on the roof. Al- 

820 ANCIENT DRAMA. [chap, xxm 

though monks have in their turn been driven off the Spanish 
boards, the national drama has almost made its exit with them. 
The genuine old stage held up the mirror to Spanish nature, and 
exhibited real life and manners. Its object was rather to amuse 
than to instruct, and like literature, its sister exponent of exist- 
ing nationality, it showed in action what the picaresque novels 
detailed in description. In both the haughty Hidalgo v,'as the 
hero ; cloaked and armed with long rapier and mustachios, he 
stalked on the scene, made love and fought as became an old 
Castilian whom Charles V. had rendered the terror and the 
model of Europe. Spain then, like a successful beauty, took a 
proud pleasure in looking at herself in the glass, but now that 
things are altered, she blushes at beholding a portrait of her grey 
hairs and wrinkles ; her flag is tattered, her robes are torn, and she 
shrinks from the humiliation of truth. If she appears on the 
theatre at all, it is to revive long by-gone days — to raise the Cid, 
the great Captain, or Pizarro, from their graves ; thus blinking 
the present, she forms hopes for a bright future by the revival and 
recollections of a glorious past. Accordingly plays representing 
modern Spanish life and things, are scouted by pit and boxes as 
vulgar and misplaced ; nay, even Lope de Vega is now known 
merely by name ; his comedies are banislied from the boards to 
the shelves of book-cases, and those for the most part out of 
Spain. lie has paid the certain penalty of his national localism, 
of his portraying men, as a Spanish variety, rather than a uni- 
versal species. He has strutted his hour on the stage, is heard 
no more ; while his contemporary, the bard of Avon, who drew 
mankind and human nature, the same in all times and places, lives 
in the human heart as immortal as the principle on which his 
influence is founded. 

In the old Spanish plays, the imaginary scenes were no less 
full of intrigue than were the real streets ; then the point of 
honour was nice, women were immured in jealous hareems, and 
access to them, which is easier now, formed the difticulty of lovers. 
The curiosity of the spectators was kept on tenter-hooks, to see 
how the parties could get at each other, and out of the consequent 
scrapes. These imbroglios and labyrinths exactly suited a pays 
de Vimprevu, where tilings turn out, just as is the least likelv to 
be calculated on. The progress of the drama of Spain was as 


full of action and energy, as that of France was of dull description 
and declamation. The Bourbon succession, which ruined the 
genuine bull-figlit, destroyed the national drama also ; a flood of 
unities, rules, stilted nonsense, and conventionalities poured over 
the astonished and affrighted Pyrenees : now the stage, like the 
arena, was condemned by critics, whose one-idead civilization 
could see but one class of excellence, and that only through 
a lorgnette ground in the Palais Royal. Calderon was pro- 
nounced to be as great a barbarian as Shakspere, and this by 
empty pretenders wlio did not understand one word of either ; — 
and now again, at this second Bourbon irruption, France has 
become the model to that very nation from whom lier Corneilles 
and Molieres pilfered many a plume, wliich aided them to soar 
to dramatic fame. Spain is now reduced to the sad shift of 
borrowing from her pupil, those very arts which she herself once 
taught, and her best comedies and farces are but poor trans- 
lations from Mons. Scribe and other scribes of the vaudeville. 
Pier theatre, like everything else, has sunk into a pale copy of 
her dominant neighbour, and is devoid alike of originality, in- 
terest, and nationality. 

It was from Spain also that Europe copied the arrangement 
of the modern tiieatre ; the first playhouses there were merely 
open covered court-yards, after the classical fashion of Thespis. 
The patio became the pit, into which women were never ad- 
mitted. The rich sat at the windows of the houses round the 
court; and as almost all these in Spain are defended by iron 
gratings, the French took their term, loge grillee, for a private 
box. In the centre of the house, above the pit, was a sort of 
large lower gallery, which was called la tertulia, a name given in 
those times to the quarter chosen by the erudite, among whom at 
that period it was the fashion to quote Tertulian. The women, 
excluded from the pit, had a place reserved for tliemselves, 
into which no males were allowed to enter— a peculiarity based 
in the Gotho-Moro separation of the sexes. This feminine 
preserve was termed la cazuela, the stewing pan, or la alia, the 
pipkin, from the liodgepotch admixture, as it was open to all 
ranks ; it was also called " lajaula delas vmgeres" the women's 
cage— "f/ cjallinero" the henroost. All went there, as to 
church, dressed in black, and with mantillas. This dark assem- 

322 SPANISH TEAGEDY. [chap, xxiii. 

blage of sable tresses, raven hair, and blacker eyes, looked at the 
first glance like the gallery of a nunnery ; that was, however, a 
simile of dissimilitude, for, let there be but a moment's pause in 
the business of the play, then arose such a cooing and cawing in 
this rookery of tuitle-doves, — such an ogling, such a flutter of 
mantillas, such a rustling of silks, such telegraphic workings of 
fans, such an electrical connnunication with the Seiiores below, 
who looked vip with wistful glances on the dark clustering 
vine3'ard so tantalizingly placed above their reach, as effectually 
dispelled all ideas of seclusion, sorrow, or mortification. This 
unique and charming pipkin has been just now done away with 
at Madrid, because, as there is no such thing at Covent Garden, 
or Le Frangais, it might look antiquated and un- European. 

The theatres of Spain are small, altliough called Coliseums, and 
ill-contrived ; the wardrobe and properties are as scanty as those of 
the spectators, Madrid itself not excepted ; when filled, the smells 
are ultra-continental, and resemble those which prevail at Paris, 
when the great people is indulged with a gratis representation ; 
in the Spanish theatres no neutralizing incense is used, as is done 
by the wise clergy in their churches. If the atmosphere were 
analysed by Faraday, it would be found to contain equal portions 
of stale cigar smoke and fresh garlic fume. The lighting, except 
on those rare occasions when the theatre is illuminated, as it is 
called, is just intended to make darkness visible, and there was 
no seeing into the henroosts towards which the eyes and glasses 
of the foxite pittites were vainly elevated. 

Spanisli tragedy, even when the Cid spouts, is wearisome ; the 
language is stilty, the declamation ranting, French, and unna- 
tural ; passion is torn to rags. The sainetes, or farces, are 
broad, but amusing, and are perfectly well acted ; the national 
ones are disappearing, but when brought out are tlie true vehi- 
cles of the love for sarcasm, satire, and intrigue, the mirth 
and mother-wit, for which Spaniards are so remarkable ; and no 
people are more essentially serio-comic and dramatic than they 
are, whether in Venta, Plaza, or church ; the actors in their 
amusing farces cease to be actors, and tlie whole appears to be a 
scene of real life ; there generally is a gracioso or favourite wag 
of the Listen and Keeley species, who is on the best terms with 
the pit, who says and does what he likes, interlards the dialogue 

CHAP. xxiiT.] THE BOLERO. 323 

with his own witticisms, and creates a laugh before he even 
comes on. 

The orchestra is very indifferent ; the Spaniards are fond enough 
of what they call music, whether vocal or instrumental ; but it is 
Oriental, and most unlike the exquisite melody and performances 
of Italy or Germany. In the sanie manner, although they have 
footed it to their rude songs from time immemorial, they have no 
idea of the grace and elegance of the French ballet ; the moment 
they attempt it they become ridiculous, for they are bad imitators 
of their neighbours, whether in cuisine, language, or costume; 
indeed a Spaniard ceases to be a Spaniard in proportion as he 
becomes an Afrancesado ; they take, in their jumpings and 
chirpings, after the grasshopper, having a natural genius for the 
bota and bolero. The great charm of the Spanish theatres is 
their own national dance — matchless, unequalled, and inimitable, 
and only to be performed by Andalucians. This is la salsa de 
la comedia, the essence, the cream, the sauce piquante of the 
night's entertainments ; it is attempted to be described in every 
book of travels — for who can describe sound or motion?— it 
must be seen. However languid the house, laughable the tra- 
gedy, or serious the comedy, the sound of the castanet awakens 
the most listless ; the sharp, spirit-stirring click is heard beliind 
the scenes — the effect is instantaneous — it creates life under the 
ribs of death — it silences the tongues of countless women — on 
n'ecoute que le ballet. The curtain draws up ; the bounding 
pair dart forward from the opposite sides, like two separated 
lovers, who, after long search, have found each other again, 
nor do they seem to think of the public, but only of each other ; 
the glitter of the gossamer costume of the Majo and Maja seems 
invented for this dance — the sparkle of the gold lace and silver 
filigree adds to the lightness of their motions ; the transparent, 
form designing saya of the lady, heightens the cliarms of a fault- 
less symmetry which it fain would conceal ; no cruel stays fetter 
her serpentine flexibility. They pause — bend forward an instant 
— prove their supple limbs and arms ; the band strikes up, they 
turn fondly towards each otiier, and start into life. What 
exercise displays the ever-varying charms of female grace, and 
the contours of manly form, like this fascinating dance ? The 
accompaniment of the castanet gives employment to their up- 

324 NATIONAL DANCES. [chap, xxiri. 

raised arms. C'est, say the French, le pantomime d'amour. 
The enamoured youth persecutes the coy, coquettish maiden ; 
who shall describe the advance — her timid retreat, his eager 
pursuit, like Apollo chasing Daphne ? Now they gaze on each 
other, now on the ground ; now all is life, love, and action ; 
now there is a pause — they stop motionless at a moment, and 
grow into the earth. It carries all before it. There is a truth 
which overpowers the fastidious judgment. Away, then, with 
the studied grace of the French dariseuse. beautiful but artificial, 
cold and selfish as is the flicker of her love, compared to the real 
impassioned abandon of the daughters of the South ! There is 
nothing indecent in this dance ; no one is tired or the worse for 
it ; indeed its only fault is its being too short, for as Moliere says, 
" Un ballet ne saurait etre trop long, pourvu que la morale soit 
bonne, et la metaphysique bien entendue." Notwithstanding this 
most profound remark, the Toledan clergy out of mere jealousy 
wished to put the bolero down, on the pretence of immorality. 
The dancers were allowed in evidence to " give a view " to the 
court : wlien they began, the bench and bar showed symptoms of 
restlessness, and at last, casting aside gowns and briefs, both 
joined, as if tarantula-bitten, in the irresistible capering — Ver- 
dict, for the defendants with costs. 

This J3aile na.cional, however adored by foreigners, is, alas ! 
beginning to be looked down upon by those ill-advised seiioras 
who wear French bonnets in the boxes, instead of Spanish man- 
tillas. The dance is suspected of not being European or civil- 
ized ; its best chance of surviving is, the fact that it is positively 
fashionable on the boards of London and Paris. These national 
exercises are however firmly rooted among the peasants and 
lower classes. The different provinces, as they have a different 
language, costume, &c., have also their own peculiar local 
dances, which, like their wines, fine arts, relics, saints and sau- 
sages, can only be really relished on the spots themselves. 

The dances of the better classes of Spaniards in private life 
are much the same as in other parts of Europe, nor is either sex 
particularly distinguished by grace in this amusement, to which, 
however, both are much addicted. It is not, however, yet thought 
to be a proof of bon ton to dance as badly as possible, and with 
the greatest appearance of bore, that appanage of the so-called gay 


world. These dances, as everything' national is excluded, are 
without a particle of interest to any one except the performers. 
An extempoi'e ball, which might be called a cai-pet-dance, if 
there were any, forms the common conclusion of a winter's tertu- 
lia, or social meetings, at which no great attention is paid either 
to music, costume, or Mr. Gunter. Here English country 
dances, French quadrilles, and German waltzes are the order of the 
night ; everything Spanish being excluded, except the plentiful 
want of good fiddling, lighting, dressing, and eating, which never 
distresses the company, for the frugal, temperate, and easily- 
pleased Spaniard enters with schoolboy heart and soul into the 
reality of any holiday, which being joy sufficient of itself lacks 
no artificial enhancement. 

Dancing at all is a novelty among Spanish ladies, which was 
introduced with the Bourbons. As among the Romans and 
Moors, it was before thought undignified. Performers were 
hired to amuse the inmates of the Christian hareem ; to mix and 
change hands with men was not to be thought of for an instant ; 
and to this day few Spanish women shake hands with men — the 
shock is too electrical ; they only give them with their hearts, 
and for good. 

The lower classes, who are a trifle less particular, and among 
whom, by the blessing of Santiago, the foreign dancing-master 
is not abroad, adhere to the primitive steps and tunes of their 
Oriental forefathers. Their accompaniments are the " tabret 
and the harp ;" the guitar, the tambourine, and the castanet. 
The essence of these instruments is to o-ive a noise on beins: 
beaten. Simple as it may seem to play on the latter, it is only 
attained by a quick ear and finger, and great practice ; accordingly 
these delights of the people are always in their hands ; practice 
makes perfect, and many a performer, dusky as a Moor, rivals 
Ethiopian " Bones" himself; they take to it before their alpha- 
bet, since the very urchins in the street begin to learn by snap- 
ping their fingers, or clicking together two shells orbits of slate, 
to which they dance ; in truth, next to noise, some capering seems 
(ssential, as the safety-valve exponents of what Cervantes de- 
scribes, the " bounding of the soul, the bursting of laughter, 
the restlessness of the body, and the quicksilver of the five senses." 
It is the rude sport of people who dance from the necessity of 


£26 MOllKIS DANCES. [chap, xxiit. 

motion, the relief of the young, the healthy, and the joyous, 
to whom life is of itself a blessing, and who, like skipping kids, 
tlius give vent to their superabundant lightness of heart and limb. 
Sancho, a true Manchegan, after beholding the strange saltatory 
exhibitions of his master, in somewhat an incorrect ball costume, 
professes his ignorance of such elaborate dancing, but maintained 
that for a zapateo, a knocking of shoes, none could beat him. 
Unchanged as are the instruments, so are the dancing propensi- 
ties of Spaniards. All night long, three thousand years ago, say 
the historians, did they dance and sing, or rather jump and yell, 
to these " howl\ng& of Tarshish ;" and so far from its being a 
fatigue, they kept up the ball all night, by way of resting. 

The Gallicians and Asturians retain among many of their abo- 
riginal dances and tunes, a wild Pyrrhic jumping, which, with 
their shillelah in hand, is like the Gaelic Ghillee Galium, and is the 
precise Iberian armed dance which Hannibal had performed at 
the impressive funeral of Gracchus. These quadrille figures are 
intricate and warlike, requiring, as was said of the Iberian per- 
formances, much leg-activity, for which the wiry sinewy active 
Spaniards are still remarkable. These are the Morris dances im- 
ported from Gallicia by our John of Gaunt, who supposetl they 
were Moorish. The peasants still dance them in their best cos- 
tumes, to the antique castanet, pipe, and tambourine. They are 
usually directed by a master of the ceremonies, or what is equi- 
valent, a parti-coloured fool, Mwpoc; which may be the etymo- 
logy of Morris. 

These comparsas, or national quadrilles, were the hearty wel- 
come which the peasants were paid to give to the sons of Louis 
Philippe at Vitoria ; such, too, we have often beheld gratis, and 
performed by eight men, with castanets in their hands, and to 
the tune of a fife and drum, while a Bastonero, or leader of the 
band, clad in gaudy raiment like a pantaloon, directed the rustic 
ballet ; around were grouped payesas y aldeanas, dressed in tight 
bodices, with pcmuelos on their heads, their hair hanging down 
behind in trensas, and their necks covered with blue and coral 
beads ; the men bound up their long locks with red handkerchiefs, 
and danced in their shirts, the sleeves of which were puckered up 
with bows of different-coloured ribands, crossed also over the 
back and breast, and mixed with scapularies and small prints of 


saints ; their drawers were white, and full as the hragas of the 
Valcncians, like whom they wore alpargatas, or hemp sandals 
laced with blue strings ; the figure of tlie dance was very intri- 
cate, consisting of much circling, turning, and jumping, and ac- 
companied with loud cries of viva ! at each change of evolution. 
Tliese comparsas are undoubtedly a remnant of the original 
Iberian exhibitions, in which, as among the Spartans and wild 
Indians, even in relaxations a warlike principle was maintained. 
The dancers beat time with tlieir swords on their shields, and 
when one of their champions wished to show his contempt for 
the Romans, he executed before them a derisive pirouette. Was 
this remembered the other day at Vitoria ? 

But in Spain at every moment one retraces the steps of anti- 
quity ; thus still on the banks of the Boetis may be seen those 
dancing-girls of profligate Gades, which were exported to ancient 
Rome, with pickled tunnies, to the delight of wicked epicures 
and the horror of the good fathers of the early church, who 
compared them, and perhaps justly, to the capering performed 
by the daughter of Herodias. They were prohibited by Theo- 
dosius, because, according to St. Chrysostom, at such balls the 
devil never wanted a partner. The well-known statue at Naples 
called the Venere Callipige is the representation of Telethusa, or 
some other Cadiz dancing-girl. Seville is now in these matters, 
what Gades was ; never there is wanting some venerable gipsy hag, 
who will get up a.funcion as these pretty proceedings are called, 
a word taken from the pontifical ceremonies ; for Italy set the 
fashion to Spain once, as France does now. These festivals must 
be paid for, since the gitanesque race, according to Cervantes, 
were only sent into this world as " fishhooks for purses." The 
callees when young are very pretty — then they have such wheedling 
ways, and traffic on such sure wants and wishes, since to Spanish 
men they prophesy gold, to women, husbands. 

The scene of the ball is generally placed in the suburb Triana, 
which is the Transtevere of tlie town, and the home of bull- 
fighters, smugglers, picturesque rogues, and Egyptians, whose 
women are the premieres danseuses on these occasions, in which 
men never take a part. The house selected is usually one of those 
semi-Moorish abodes and perfect pictures, where rags, poverty, 
and ruin, are mixed up with marble columns, figs, fountains and 


328 GIPSY DANCE. [ chap, xxiii. 

grapes ; the party assembles in some stately saloon, whose gilded 
Arab roof — safe from the spoiler — hangs over whitewashed walls, 
and the few wooden benches on which the chaperons and invited 
are seated, among whom quantity is rather preferred to quality ; 
nor would the company or costume perhaps be admissible at the 
Mansion-house ; but here the past triumphs over the present ; 
the dance which is closely analogous to the Ghowasee of the 
Egyptians, and tlie Nautch of tlie Hindoos, is called the Ole by 
Spaniards, the JRomalis by their gipsies ; the soul and essence of 
it consists in the expression of certain sentiment, one not indeed 
of a very sentimental or correct character. The ladies, who seem 
to have no bones, resolve the problem of perpetual motion, their 
feet having comparatively a sinecure, as the whole person per- 
forms a pantomime, and trembles like an aspen leaf; the flexible 
form and Terpsichore figure of a young Andalucian girl — be she 
gipsy or not — is said by the learned, to have been designed by 
nature as the fit frame for her voluptuous imagination. 

Be that as it may, the scholar and classical commentator will 
every moment quote Martial, &c., when he beholds the un- 
changed balancing of hands, raised as if to catch show"ers of roses, 
the tapping of the feet, and the serpentine, quivering movements. 
A contagious excitement seizes the spectators, who, like Ori- 
entals, beat time with their hands in measured cadence, and at 
every pause applaud with cries and clappings. The damsels, 
thus encouraged, continue in violent action vmtil nature is all 
but exhausted ; then aniseed brandy, wine, and alpisteras are 
handed about, and the fete, carried on to early dawn, often 
concludes in broken heads, which here are called " gipsy's fare." 
These dances appear to a stranger from the chilly north, to be 
more marked by energy than by grace, nor have the legs less to 
do than the body, hips, and arms. The siglit of this unchanged 
pastime of antiquity, which excites the Spaniards to frenzy, 
rather disgusts an English spectator, possibly from some national 
malorganization, for, as Moliere says, " I'Angleterre a produit 
des grands hommes dans les sciences et les beaux arts, mais pas 
un grand danseur — allez lire I'histoire." However indecent these 
dances may be, yet the performers are inviolably chaste, and as 
far at least as ungipsy guests are concerned, may be compared 
to iced punch at a rout ; young girls go through them before the 

CHAF. xxiii.] OPERA IN SPAIN. 329 

applauding eyes of their parents and brothers, who would resent 
to the death any attempt on their sisters' virtue. 

During tlie lucid intervals between the ballet and the brandy, 
La cana, the true Arabic gaunia, song, is administered as a 
soother by some hirsute artiste, without frills, studs, diamonds, 
or kid gloves, whose staves, sad and melancholy, always begin 
and end with an ay ! a high-pitched sigh, or cry. These 
Moorish melodies, relics of auld lang syne, are best preserved in 
the hill-built villages near Ronda, where there are no roads for the 
members of Queen Christina's ConservatorioNapolitano ; wherever 
I'academie tyrannizes, and the Italian opera prevails, adieu, alas ! 
to the tropes and tunes of the people : and now-a-days the opera 
exotic is cultivated in Spain by the higher classes, because, being 
fashionable at London and Paris, it is an exponent of the civili- 
zation of 1846. Although tiie audience in their honest hearts 
are as much bored there as elsewhere, yet the affair is pronounced 
by them to be charming, because it is so expensive, so select, 
and so far above the comprehension of the vulgar. Avoid it, 
however, in Spain, ye our fair readers, for the second-rate 
singers are not fit to hold the score to those of thy own dear 

The real opera of Spain is in the shop of the Barber o or in 
the court-yard of the Venta ; in truth, good music, wliether 
harmonious or scientific, vocal or instrumental, is seldom heard 
in this land, notwithstanding the eternal strumming and singing 
that is going on there. The very masses, as performed in the 
cathedrals, from tiie introduction of tlie pianoforte and the 
violin, have very little impressive or devotional character. The 
fiddle disenchants. Even Murillo, when he clapped catgut under 
a cherub chin in the clouds, thereby damaged the angelic senti- 
ment. Let none despise the genuine songs and instruments of 
the Peninsula, as excellence in music is multiform, and much of 
it, both in name and substance, is conventional. Witness a 
whining ballad sung by a chorus out of work, to encoring crowds 
in the streets of merry old England, or a bagpipe-tune played in 
Ross-shire, which enchants the highlanders, who cry that strain 
again, but scares away the gleds. Let therefore the Spaniards enjoy 
also what they call music, although fastidious foreigners condemn 
it as Iberian and Oriental. They love to have it so, and will 

330 MUSIC IN VENTAS. [chap. xxm. 

have their own way, in their own time and tune, Rossini and 
Paganini to the contrary notwithstanding. They — not the 
Italians— are listened to by a delighted semi-Moro audience, 
with a most profound Oriental and melancholy attention. Like 
their love, their music, which is its food, is a serious affair ; yet 
the sad song, the guitar, and dance, at this moment, form the joy 
of careless poverty, the repose of sunburnt labour. The poor 
forget their toils, sa/is six sous et sans souci ; nay, even their 
meals, like Pliny's friend Claro, who lost his supper, Bcetican 
olives and gazpacho, to run after a Gaditanian dancing-girl. 

In venta and court-yard, in spite of a long day's work and 
scanty fare, at the sound of the guitar and click of the castanet, 
a new life is breathed into their veins. So far from feeling past 
fatigue, the very fatigue of the dance seems refreshing, and 
many a weary traveller will rue the midnight frolics of his 
noisy and saltatory fellow-lodgers. Supper is no sooner over 
than " apres la pause la danse," — some muscular masculine per- 
former, the very antithesis of Parinelli, screams forth his couplets, 
" screechin' out his prosaic verse," either at the top of his 
voice, or drawls out his ballad, melancholy as the drone of a 
Lincolnshire bagpipe, and both alike to the imminent danger of his 
own trachea, and of all un-Spanish acoustic organs. For verily, 
to repeat Gray's unhandsome critique of tlie grand Opera Fran- 
9ais, it consists of " des miaulemens et des hurlemens eftroy- 
ables, meles avec un tintamare du diable." As, however, in 
Paris, so in Spain, the audience are in raptures ; all men's ears 
grow to the tunes as if they had eaten ballads ; all join in chorus 
at the end of each verse ; this " private band," as among the 
sangre su, supplies the want of conversation, and converts a 
stupid silence into scientific attention, — ainsi les extremes se 
touclient. There is ah\ays in every company of Spaniards, 
whether soldiers, civilians, muleteers, or ministers, some one 
who can play the guitar more or less, like Louis XIV., 
who, according to Voltaire, was taught nothing but that and 
dancing. Godoy, the Prince of the Peace, one of the most 
worthless of the multitude of worthless ministers by whom Spain 
has been misgoverned, first captivated the royal Messalina by his 
talent of strumming on the guitar; so Gonzales Bravo, editor of 
the Madrid Satirist^ rose to be premier, and conciliated the vir- 


tuoiis Christina, who, soothed by the sweet sounds of this pepper- 
aud-salted Amphion, forgot his libels on herself and Senor 
Muiioz. It may be predicted of the Spains, that when this 
strumming is mute, the game will be up, as the Hebrew expres- 
sion for the ne plus ultra desolation of an Oriental city is " the 
ceasing of the mirth of the guitar and tambourine." 

In Spain whenever and wherever the siren sounds are heard, a 
party is forthwith got up of all ages and sexes, who are attracted 
by the tinkling like swarming bees. The guitar is part and 
parcel of the Spaniard and his ballads ; he slings it across his 
shoulder with a ribbon, as was depicted on the tombs of Egypt 
four thousand years ago. The performers seldom are very scien- 
tific musicians ; they content themselves with striking the chords, 
sweeping the whole hand over the strings, or flourishing, and 
tapping the board with the thumb, at which they are very 
expert. Occasionally in the towns there is some one who has 
attained more power over this ungrateful instrument ; but the 
attempt is a failure. The guitar responds coldly to Italian 
words and elaborate melody, which never come home to Spanish 
ears or hearts ; for, like the lyre of Anacreon, however often he 
might change the strings, love, sweet love, is its only theme. 
The multitude suit the tune to the song, both of which are 
frequently extemporaneous. They lisp in numbers, not to say 
verse ; but their splendid idiom lends itself to a prodigality of 
words, whether prose or poetry ; nor are either veiy difficult, 
where common sense is no necessary ingredient in the compo- 
sition ; accordingly the language comes in aid to the fertile 
mother- wit of the natives ; rhymes are dispensed with at pleasure, 
or mixed according to caprice with assonants which consist of 
the mere recurrence of the same vowels, without reference to 
that of consonants, and even tliese, which poorly fill a foreign 
ear, are not always observed ; a change in intonation, or a few 
thumps more or less on the board, do the work, supersede all 
difficulties, and constitute a rude prosody, and lead to music just 
as gestures do to dancing and to ballads, — " que se canto, bal- 
lando " and which, when heard, reciprocally inspire a Saint 
Vitus's desire to snap fingers and kick heels, as all will admit 
in whose ears the habas verdes of Leon, or the cachtica of Cadiz, 
yet ring. 

332 THE LADIES SINGING. [chap, xxiii. 

The words destined to set all this capering in motion are not 
written for cold British critics. Like sermons, they are deli- 
vered orally, and are never subjected to the disenchanting ordeal 
of type : and even such as may be professedly serious and not 
saltatory are listened to by those who come attuned to the hear- 
ing vein — who anticipate and re-echo the subject — who are 
operated on by the contagious bias. Thus a fascinated audience 
of otherwise sensible Britons tolerates the positive presence of 
nonsense at an opera — 

" Where rhyme ■with reason does dispense, 
And sound has right to govern sense." 

In order to feel the full power of the guitar and Spanish song, 
the performer should be a sprightly Andaluza, taught or un- 
taught ; she wields the instrument as her fan or mantilla; it 
seems to become portion of herself, and alive ; indeed the whole 
thing requires an abandon, a fire, a gracia, which could not 
be risked by ladies of more northern climates and more 
tightly-laced zones. No wonder one of the old fathers of the 
church said that he would sooner face a singing basilisk than one 
of these performers : she is good for nothing when pinned down 
to a piano, on which few Spanish women play even tolerably, 
and so with her singing, when she attempts ' Adelaide,' or any- 
thing in the sublime, beautiful, and serious, her failure is dead 
certain, while, taken in her own line, she is triumphant ; the 
words of her song are often struck off, like Theodore Hook's, at 
the moment, and allude to incidents and persons present ; some- 
times they are full of epigram and double etitendre ; they often 
sing what may not be spoken, and steal hearts through ears, like 
the Sirens, or as Cervantes has it, cuando cantan encantan. At 
other times their song is little better than meaningless jingle, with 
which the listeners are just as well satisfied. For, as Figaro says 
— " ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d'etre dit, on le chante." A 
good voice, which Italians call novanta-nove, ninety-nine parts 
out of the hundred, is very rare ; nothing strikes a traveller 
more unfavourably than the harsh voice of the women in gene- 
ral ; never mind, these ballad songs from the most remote an- 
tiquity have formed the delight of the people, have tempered the 
despotism of their church and state, have sustained a nation's 
resistance against foreign aggression. 


There is very little music ever printed in Spain ; the songs 
and airs are generally sold in MS. Sometimes, for the verj-- 
illiterate, the notes are expressed in numeral figures, which corre- 
spond with the number of the strings. 

The best guitars in the world were made appropriately in Cadiz 
by the Pajez family, father and son ; of course an instrument in 
so much vogue was always an object of most careful thought in 
fair Baetica ; thus in the seventh century the Sevillian guitar was 
shaped like the human breast, because, as archbishops said, the 
chords signified the pulsations of the heart, a corde. The instru- 
ments of the Andalucian Moors were strung after these significant 
heartstrings ; Zaryab remodelled the guitar by adding a fifth 
string of bright red, to represent blood, the treble or first being 
yellow to indicate bile ; and to this hour, on the banks of the 
Guadalquivir, when dusky eve calls forth the cloaked serenader, 
the ruby drops of the heart female, are more surely liquefied by 
a judicious manipulation of cat-gut, than ever were those of San 
Januario by book or candle ; nor, so it is said, when the tinkling 
is continuous are all marital livers unwrung. 

Plowever that may be, the sad tunes of these Oriental ditties are 
still effective in spite of their antiquity ; indeed certain sounds 
have a mysterious aptitude to express certain moods of the mind, 
in connexion with some unexplained sympathy between the sen- 
tient and intellectual organs, and the simplest are by far the 
most ancient. Ornate melody is a modern invention from Italy ; 
and although, in lands of greater intercourse and fastidiousness, 
the conventional has ejected the national, fashion has not shamed 
or silenced the old airs of Spain — those " bowlings of Tarshish." 
Indeed, national tunes, like the songs of birds, are not taught in 
orcliestras, but by mothers to their infant progeny in the cradling 
nest. As the Spaniard is warlike without being military, salta- 
tory without being graceful, so he is musical without being har- 
monious ; he is just the raw man material made by nature, and 
treats himself as he does the raw products of his soil, by leaving 
art and final development to the foreigner. 

The day that he becomes a scientific fiddler, or a capital 
cotton spinner, his charm will be at an end ; long therefore may 
he turn a deaf ear to moralists and political economists, who 
cannot abide the guitar, who say that it has done more harm 

334 ENGLISH EXAMPLE. [chap, xxiii. 

to Spain than hailstorms or drought, by fostering a prodigious 
idleness and love-making, whereby the land is cursed with a 
greater surplus of foundlings, than men of fortune ; how indeed 
can these calamities be avoided, when the tempter hangs up this 
fatal instrument on a peg in every house? Our inimelodious 
labourers and unsaltatory operatives are put forth by Manchester 
missionaries as an example of industry to the Majos and Manolas 
of Spain : " behold how they toil, twelve and fourteen hours 
every day ;" yet these philanthropists should remember that from 
their having no other recreation beyond the public or dissenting- 
house, they pine when unemployed, because not knowing what 
to do with themselves when idle ; this to most Spaniards is 
a foretaste of the bliss of heaven, while occupation, thought in 
England to be happiness, is the treadmill doom of the lost for ever. 
JNfor can it be denied that the facility of junketing in the Pen- 
insula, the grapes, guitars, songs, skippings and other incidents to 
fine climate, militate against that dogged, desperate, determined 
hard-working, by which our labourers beat the world hollow, 
fiddling and pirouetting being excepted. 



JIanufacture of Cigars — Tobacco— Smuggling via Gibraltar— Cigars of 
Ferdiuaud VII. — Making a Cigarrito — Zumalacarreguy and the School- 
master — Time and Money Wasted in Smoking — Postscript on Stock. 

But whether at bull-fight or theatre, be he lay or clerical, every 
Spaniard who can afford it, consoles himself continually with a 
cio-ar, sleep — not bed — time only excepted. This is hhnepenthe^ 
his pleasure opiate, which, like Souchong, soothes but does not 
inebriate ; it is to him his " Te veniente die et te decedente." 

The manufacture of the cigar is the most active one carried 
on in the Peninsula. The buildings are palaces ; witness those 
at Seville, Malaga, and Valencia. Since a cigar is a sine qua non 
in every Spaniard's mouth, for otherwise he would resemble 
a house without a chimney, a steamer without a funnel, it must 
have its page in every Spanish book ; indeed, as one of the most 
learned native authors remarked, " You will think me tiresome 
with my tobacconistical details, but the vast bulk of readers 
will be more pleased with it, than with an account of all the 
pictures in tlie world." They all opine, that a good cigar — an 
article scarce in this land of smoking and contradiction — keeps a 
Christian hidalgo cooler in summer and warmer in winter than 
his wife and cloak ; while at all times and seasons it diminishes 
sorrow and doubles joy, as a man's better half does in Great 
Britain. '• The fact is. Squire," says Sam Slick, " the moment 
a man takes to a pipe he becomes a philosopher ; it is the poor 
man's friend ; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes 
a man patient under trouble." Can it be wondered at, that 
the Oriental and Spanish population should cling to this re- 
lief from whips and scorns, and the oppressor's wrong, or steep 
in sweet oblivious stupefaction the misery of being fretted and 
excited by empty larders, vicious political institutions, and a very 
hot climate ? They believe that it deadens their over-excitable 
jinagi nation, and appeases their too exquisite nervous sensibility ; 
they agree with Moliere, although they never read him. 

336 SMUGGLED CIGARS. [chap. xxrv. 

" Quoique Ton pnisse dire, Aristote et toute la philosophie, il 
n'y a rien d'egal an tabac." The divine Isaac Barrow resorted 
to this -panpharmacon whenever he wislied to collect his thoughts ; 
Sir Walter Raleigh, the patron of Virginia, sraolced a pipe 
just before he lost his head, " at which some formal people were 
scandalized ; but," adds Aubrey, " I think it was properly done 
to settle his spirits." The pedant James, who condemned both 
Raleigh and tobacco, said the bill of fare of the dinner which he 
should give his Satanic majesty, would be "a pig, a poll of ling, 
and mustard, with a pipe of tobacco for digestion." So true it 
is tliat " what 's one man's meat is another man's poison ;" but 
at all events, in hungiy Spain it is both meat and drink, and the 
chief smoke connected with proceedings of the mouth issues 
from labial, not house chimneys. 

Tobacco, this anodyne for the irritability of lunnan reason, is, 
like spirituous liquors which make it drunk, a highly-taxed arti- 
cle in all civilized societies. In Spain, the Bourbon dynasty (as 
elsewhere) is tlie hereditary tobacconist-general, and the privilege 
of sale is generally farmed out to some contractor: accordingly, 
such a trump as a really good home-made cigar is hardly to be 
had for love or money in the Peninsula. Diogenes would sooner 
expect to find an honest man in any of the government offices. 
As there is no royal road to the science of cigar-making, the 
article is badly concocted, of bad materials, and, to add insult to 
injury, is charged at a most exorbitant price. In order to benefit 
the Havanah, tobacco is not allowed to be grown in Spain, which 
it would do in perfection in the neighbourhood of Malaga ; for 
the experiment was made, and having turned out quite success- 
fully, the cultivation was immediately prohibited. Tlie iniquity 
and dearness of the royal tobacco makes the fortune of the well- 
meaning smuggler, who being here, as everywhere, the great 
corrector of blundering chancellors of exchequers, provides a 
better and cheaper thing from Gibraltar. 

The proof of the extent to which his dealings are carried was 
exemplified in If 28, when many thousand additional hands were 
obliged to be put onto the maimfactories at Seville and Granada, 
to meet the increased demand occasioned by the impossibility of 
obtaining supplies from Gibraltar, in consequence of the yellow 
fever which was then raging there. No offence is more dread- 


fully punished in Spain than that of tobacco-smuggling, which 
robs the queen's pocket — all other robbery is treated as nothing, 
for her lieges only suffer. 

The encouragement aiforded to the manufacture and smug- 
gling of cigars at Gibraltar is a never-failing source of ill blood 
and ill will between the Spanish and English governments. 
This most serious evil is contrary to all treaties, injurious to 
Spain and England alike, and is beneficial only to aliens of the 
worst character, who form the real plague and sore of Gibraltar. 
The American and every other nation import their own tobacco, 
good, bad, and indiiferent, into the fortress free of duty, and 
without repurchasing British produce. It is made into cigars 
by Genoese, is smuggled into Spain by aliens, in boats under the 
British flag, which is disgraced by the traffic and exposed to 
insult from the revenue cutters of Spain, which it cannot in 
justice expect to have redressed. The Spaniards would have 
winked at the introduction of English hardware and cottons — 
objects of necessity, which do not interfere with this, their chief 
manufacture, and one of the most productive of royal monopolies. 
There is a wide difference between encouraging real British com- 
merce and this smuggling of foreign cigars, nor can Spain be 
expected to observe treaties towards us while we infringe them 
so scandalously and unprofitably on our parts. 

Many tobacchose epicures, who smoke their regular dozen or 
two, place the evil sufficient for the day between fresh lettuce- 
leaves ; this damps the outer leaf of the article, and improves the 
narcotic effect; mem., the inside, the trail, las tripas, as the Spa- 
niards call it, should be kept quite dry. The disordered interior 
of the royal cigars is masked by a good outside wrapper leaf, just 
as Spanish rags are cloaked by a decent cupa, but I'habit ne fait 
pas le cigarre. Few except the rich can afford to smoke good 
cigars. Ferdinand VII., unlike his ancestor Louis XIV., " qui," 
says La Beaumelle, " haissoit le tabac singulierement, quoiqu'un 
de ses meilleurs revenus," was not only a grand compounder but 
consumer thereof. He indulged in the royal extravagance of a 
very large thick cigar made in the Havaiiah expressly for his 
gracious use, as he was too good a judge to smoke his own ma- 
nufacture. Even of these he seldom smoked more than the 
half; the remainder was a grand perquisite, like our palace 
lights. The cigar was one of his pledges of love and hatred : 

338 LIGHTING CIGAES, [chap. xxiv. 

he would give one to his favourites when in sweet temper ; and 
often, when meditating a treacherous coup, would dismiss tlie 
unconscious victim with a royal jym'O : and when the happy in- 
dividual got home to smoke it, he was saluted by an Alguacil 
with an order to quit Madrid in twenty-four hours. The " in- 
nocent " Isabel, who does not smoke, substitutes sugar-plums ; 
she regaled Olozaga with a sweet present, when she was " doing 
him " at the bidding of the Christinist camarilla. It would seem 
that the Spanish Bourbons, when not " cretinised " into idiots, 
are creatures composed of cunning and cowardice. But " those 
who cannot dissimulate are unfit to reign " was the axiom of 
their illustrious ance^or Louis XI. 

In Spain the bulk of their happy subjects cannot afford, either 
the expense of tobacco, which is dear to them, or the gain of 
time, which is very cheap, by smoking a whole cigar right away. 
They make one aftbrd occupation and recreation for half an hour. 
Though few Spaniards ruin themselves in libraries, none are 
without a little blank book of a particular paper, which is made 
at Alcoy, in Valencia. At any pause all say at once — " pues, 
seuores ! echaremos un cigarrito — well then, my Lords, let us 
make a little cigar," and all set seriously to work ; every man, 
besides this book, is armed with a small case of flint, steel, and 
a combustible tinder. To make a paper cigar, like putting on 
a cloak, is an operation of much more difficulty than it seems, 
although all Spaniards, who have done nothing so much, from 
their childhood upwards, perform both with extreme facility and 
neatness. This is the mode : — the petaca, Arabice Butdk, 
or little case worked by a fair hand, in the coloured thread of the 
aloe, in which the store of cigars is kept, is taken out— a leaf 
is torn from the book, which is held between the lips, or down- 
wards from the back of the hand, between the fore and middle 
finger of the left hand — a portion of the cigar, about a third, is 
cut off and rubbed slowly in the palms till reduced to a powder 
— it is then jerked into the paper-leaf, which is rolled up into 
a little squib, and the ends doubled down, one of which is bitten 
off and the other end is lighted. The cigarillo is smoked slowly, 
the last whiff being the bonne bouche, the breast, la pechuga. 
The little ends are thrown away : they are indeed little, for a 
Spanish fore-finger and thumb are quite fire-browned and fire- 
proof, although some polished exquisites use silver holders ; 


these remnants are picked up by the beggar-boys, who make up 
into fresh cigars the leavings of a thousand mouths. There is 
no want of fire in Spain ; everywhere, what we should call link- 
boys run about with a slowly-burning rope for the benefit of the 
public. At many of the sheds where water and lemonade are 
sold, one of tlie ropes, twirled like a snake round a post, and 
ignited, is kept ready as the match of a besieged artilleryman ; 
while in the houses of the affluent, a small silver chafinof-dish. 
with lighted charcoal, is usually on a table. Mr. Henningsen 
relates that Zumalacarreguy, when about to execute some Chris- 
tinos at Villa I ranca, observed one (a schoolmaster) looking 
about, like Raleigh, for a light for his last dying puff in this 
life, upon which the General took his own cigar from his mouth, 
and handed it to him. Tlie schoolmaster lighted his own, re- 
turned the other with a respectful bow, and went away smoking 
and reconciled to be shot. This urgent necessity levels all 
ranks, and it is allowable to stop any person for fire ; this proves 
the practical equality of all classes, and that democracy under a 
despotism, wliicli exists in smoking Spain, as in the torrid East. 
The cigar forms a bond of union, an isthmus of communication 
between most heterogeneous oppositions. It is the habeas corpus 
of Spanish liberties. The soldier takes fire from the canon's 
lip, and the dark face of the humble labourer is whitened by the 
reflection of the cigar of the grandee and lounger. The lowest 
orders have a coarse roll or rope of tobacco, wheresvith to solace 
their sorrows, and it is their calumet of peace. Some of the 
Spanish fair sex are said to indulge in a quiet hidden cigarilla, 
una pajita, una reyna, but it is not thouglit either a sign of a 
lady, or of one of rigid virtue, to have recourse to these forbidden 
pleasures ; for, says their proverb, whoever makes one basket will 
make a hundred. 

Nothing exposes a traveller to more difficulty than carrying 
much tobacco in his luggage ; yet all will remember never to 
be without some cigars, and the better the better. It is a trifling 
outlay, for altliough any cigar is acceptable, yet a real good one 
is a gift from a king. The greater the enjoyment of the smoker, 
the greater his respect for tlie donor ; a cigar may be given to 
everybody, whether high or low : thus the petaca is offered, as a 
polite Frenchman of La Vieille Cour (a race, alas ! all but extinct) 
ofiered his snuff-box, by way of a prelude to conversation and 

340 TIME LOST BY TOBACCO. lchap. xxiv 

intimacy. It is an act of civility, and implies no superiority, 
nor is there any humiliation in the acceptance ; it is twice blessed, 
" It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." It is the spell 
wherewith to charm the natives, who are its ready and obedient 
slaves, and, like a small kind word spoken in time, it works 
miracles. There is no country in the world where the strang-er 
and traveller can purchase for half-a-crown, half the love ana 
good-will wliich its investment in tobacco will ensure, therefore 
the man who grudges or neglects it is neither a philanthropist 
nor a philosopher, 

A calculation might be made by those fond of arithmetic — 
which we abhor — of the waste of time and money which is 
caused to tlie poor Spaniards by all this prodigious cigarising. 
This said tobacco importation of Raleigh is even a more doubtful 
good to the Peninsula than that of potatoes to cognate Ireland, 
where it fosters poverty and population. Let it be assumed that 
a respectable Spaniard only smokes for fifty years, allow him 
the moderate allowance of six cigars a day — the Regent, it is 
said, consumed forty every twenty-four hours — calculate the 
cost of each cigar at two-pence, whicii is cheap enough anywhere 
for a decent one ; suppose that half of these are made into paper 
cigars, which require double time— how much Spanish time and 
private income is wasted in smoke ? That is the question which 
we are unable to answer. 

Here, alas ! the pen must be laid down ; an express from 
Albemarle-street informs us, that this page must go to press 
next week, seeing that the printer's devils celebrate Christmas 
time with a most religious abstinence from work. Many things 
of Spain must therefore be left in our inkstand, filled to the 
brim with good intentions. We had hoped, at our onset, to have 
sketched portraits of the Provincial and General Character of 
Spanish Men — to have touched upon Spanish Soldiers and States- 
men — Journalism and Place Hunting — Mendicants, Ministers 
and Mosquitoes — Charters, Cheatings, and Constitutions — Fine 
Arts — French and English Politics — Legends, Relics, and Re- 
ligion — Monks and Manners ; and last, not least — reserved 
indeed as a bonne bouche — the Eyes, Loves, Dress, and Details 
of the Spanish Ladies. It cannot be — nay, even as it is, " for 
stories somehow lengthen when begun," and especially if woven 
with Spanish yarn, even now the indulgence of our fair readers 

CHAP, xxiv.j SPANISH STOCK. 34. 

may be already exhausted by this sample of the Cosas de Espana. 
Be that as it may, assuredly the smallest hint of a desire to the 
flattering contrary, which they may condescend to express, will 
be obeyed as a command by their grateful and humble servant 
the author, who, as every true Spanish Hidalgo very properly 
concludes on similar, and on every occasion, "kisses their feet." 

Postscript. — In the first number of these Gatherings, at 
page 38, some particulars were given of Spanish Stock, dei'ived, 
as was believed, from the most official and authentic sources. 
On the very evening that the volume was published, and too 
late therefore for any corrections, the following obliging letter 
was received from an anonymous correspondent, which is now 
printed verbatim : — 

London, 30th November, 1846. 

I HAVE just perused your valuable and amusing work, * Gatherings 
from Spain;' but must own I felt somewhat annoyed at seeing so gross amis- 
representation in the account you give of the national debt of that couniry; 
the amount you give is perfectly absurd. You say it has been increased to 
279,033,089/. — this is too bad. Now I can give you the exact amount. 
The 5 per cents, consists of 40,000,000/. only ; the coupons upon that sum to 
12,000,000/. ; and the present 3 per cents, to 6,000,000/. ; in all, 58,000,000/., 
and their own domestic debt, which is very trifling. Now this is rather dif- 
ferent to your statement ; besides, you are doing your book great injury by 
writing the Spanish Stock down so ; more particularly so, as there is no 
doubt some final settlement will be come to before your second Number 
appears [ ? ]. The country is far from being as you misrepresent it to be — 
bankrupt. She is very rich, and quite capable of meeting her engagements 
which are so trifling— if you were to write down our Railroads I should 
think you a sensible man, for they are the greatest bubbles, since the great 
South Sea bubble. But Spanish is a fortune to whoever is so fortunate as to 
possess it now. I am, and have been for some years, a large holder, and 
am now looking forward to the realization of all my plans, in the present 
Minister of Finance, Senor Mon, and the rising of that stock to its proper 
price — about 60 or 70. 

I should, as a friend, advise you to correct your book before you 
strike any more copies, if you wish to sell it, as a true representation of the 
present existing state of the country. Your book might have done ten 
years ago, but people will not be gulled now ; we are too well aware that 
almost all our own papers are bribed (and, perhaps, books), to write down 
Spanish, and Spanish finance, by raising all manner of reports — of Carlist 
bands appearing in all directions, &c. &c. &c. &c., which is most absurd — the 
Carl' its' cause is dead. 


»42 THE AUTHOR'S POSTSCEIPT. [chap. xxiv. 

I hope, Sir, you will not be offended with these lines, but rather take them 
as a friendly hint, as I admire your book much ; and I hope you will your- 
self see the falsity of what has been inserted in a work of amusement, and 
correct it at once. 

I remain. Sir, 
Your obedient and humble Servant, 

To Ford, Esq. 

It is a Irifle "too bad" to be thus set down by our compli- 
mentary correspondent as the inventor of these startling facts, 
figures, and " fallacies," s^inee the full, true, and exact particulars 
are to be found at pages 85 and 89 of Mr. Macgregor's Commer- 
cial Tariffs of Spain, presented to both Houses of Parliament in 
1844 by the command of Her Majesty. And as there was some 
variance in amount, the author all through quoted from other 
men's sums, and spoke doubtingly and approximatively, being 
little desirous of having anything connected with Spanish debts 
laid at his door, or charged to his account. He has no interest 
whatever in these matters, having never been the fortunate holder 
of one farthing either in Spanish fluids or even English railroads. 
Equally a friend of truth as his kind monitor, he simply wished 
to caution fair readers, who might otherwise mis-invest, as he 
erroneously it appears conceived, the savings in their pin-money. 
If lie has unwittingly stated that which is not, he can but give 
up his authority, be very much ashamed, and insert the antidote 
to his errors. He sincerely hopes that all and every one of the 
bright visions of his anonymous friend may be realized. Had he 
himself, which Heaven forfend ! been sent on the errand of dis- 
covery whether the Madrid ministers be made, or not, of squeez- 
able materials, considering that Astraea has not yet returned to 
Spain, with good governments, the golden age, or even a tariff, 
his first step would have been to grease the wheels with sovereign 
ointment ; and with a view of not being told by ministers and 
cashiers to call again to-morrow, he would have opened the 
negocio by offering somebody 20 per cent, on all the hard dollars 
paid down ; thus possibly some breath and time might be eco- 
nomised, and trifling disappointments prevented. 

London: Printed by William Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street 




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